Film Festival Today

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Studios Face Off Against Theater Owners

Written by: FFT Webmaster | May 25th, 2011

The plan of several Hollywood studios to significantly change the release pattern for their films has angered the industry’s theater owners. At last month’s CinemaCon, a major confab for the exhibition industry, word leaked that four studios (Universal,  Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Sony) had finalized a deal with satellite television provider DirecTV to screen certain of their movies on demand 60 days or less after their initial theatrical releases (and less than the classic 90 to 120 days). Several theater chains have vowed to ban trailers from the studios’ upcoming releases and not offer prime time slots or capacity theaters for the films in question. The studios’ plan is to offer “premium VOD”, which would enable viewers to watch certain movies earlier than usual for a $30 per-viewing fee. The move is seen as a direct move against the profitability of the cinema chains, with an anticipated drop in attendance predicted if titles are available a mere two months later on small screens.

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