Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and Facebook’s first president, is currently pitching a startup called Screening Room that would allow consumers to rent new movie releases from the comforts of home on the same day that they premiere in theaters.
Such a privilege would come with a cost, according to Variety. Users would pay $150 for a set-top box that would transmit the films and prevent piracy, and then $50 per rental. Consumers would have a 48-hour window within which to view each film.
In order to get movie exhibitors, distributors and theaters on board, Screening Room would offer a significant cut of these fees, Variety reports. Exhibitors could receive as much as $20 of each $150 box purchase, and, as an incentive to cinemas, the startup would also offer two free movie theater tickets to consumers who pay for a $50 rental. Distributors would get a 20 percent cut of each rental, while Screening Room would take 10 percent, according to Variety.
Parker is co-founder and a major investor in Screening Room, while Prem Akkaraju, the former chief content officer of SFX Entertainment, is its co-founder and CEO. The company says it is close to finalizing a deal with AMC, Variety reports, though talks with major studios including Universal, Fox and Sony are still in initial stages.
There is precedence for such a model. Prima Cinema, for the wealthy elite, offers in-home viewing for about 60 percent of new movie releases. Users pay $35,000 for a fingerprint-enabled box that transmits the films and $500 for every rental thereafter.