Hollywood Pushing Back on Sean Parker’s ‘Screening Room’ Startup

Service would offer $50 home rentals of movies that are still in theaters.

June 1, 2017 5:00 am
Is Sean Parker's Screening Room Destined to Fail?
Entrepreneur Sean Parker attends the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital's Kaleidoscope 5 at 3LABS on May 6, 2017 in Culver City, California. (Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Sean Parker successfully disrupted the music industry with Napster nearly 20 years ago. Now, he’s looking to do the same to the movie industry with Screening Room, a startup that looks to offer viewers $50 movie rentals of new-release movies that are still in theaters.

But it’s unclear whether Hollywood wants to play along.

Back in March, Variety reported on Parker’s concept, which would be to charge viewers $150 for a set-top box that would then transmit movies at the same time they hit theaters for $50 a pop (customers would have a 48-hour window to watch the movie). Stakeholders included a who’s-who of directors, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Peter Jackson.

But now, as Business Insider reports, the blowback from Hollywood—which included such names as Christopher Nolan and James Cameron—has been swift and could be leading Parker to a major failure. “[It] has gotten little traction because of competition, the industry’s naiveté, and the decade-long discussion between studios and theater chains about how to move forward with premium video on demand, or PVOD,” notes the publication.

Of course, it’s all contingent on movie theater owners and studios buying into the concept—and chains like AMC Theaters have scoffed at it, notes the story. Not to mention the fact that iTunes could render Screening Room obsolete if it were to expand on its already semi-exclusiveness involving many just-out-of-theater movies.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.