The (Possible) Future of Movie Releases

By: Cal Parsons

About a year ago, Sean Parker introduced a new streaming service for home use, The Screening Room. The Screening Room is a service that would allow users to purchase new movies currently in theaters to stream at home, for a much higher price. Although not much news has come of the idea since then, there is still much debate as to whether or not this service should be available, ever.

Imagine paying $50 to get a new movie streamed directly to your TV in the same quality that movie theaters play. That’s what Screening Room, and other potential future companies, plan to initiate. Since Screening Room first came to the attention of the film industry, it has sparked numerous debates among Hollywood’s best and brightest, including Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorsese.

Spielberg and Scorsese support this streaming service, and many more directors and celebrities do as well. Having the ability to stream new movies at home would encourage more viewership of new films, since movie theater attendance seems to be in a steady decline, and this would give a wider access to new films. Although there would be a much higher price for one copy, this would encourage group screenings in one home, splitting the cost among the participants. Overall, a home streaming service for new films would possibly increase the amount of people watching the film.

There are others such as Christopher Nolan who oppose this service. Nolan is a film purist and has always believed that the cinema is and always will be the most authentic and definitive way to view a film. Nolan’s films are obviously made to be seen in a movie theater on a large screen with a loud sound system, and many others make movies for the same reason. That’s why many filmmakers are choosing to oppose this idea; this would potentially make movie theaters obsolete.

There are many people out there without easy access to a movie theater who would benefit greatly from a service like this. But there are many others, myself included, who love going to the theater and sitting in a dark space without distractions and just absorbing a film and the experience it gives you, and fear that movie theaters will disappear due to this service.

But business always wins, and no matter how many people fight it, this service will eventually come to fruition, giving anyone with internet access and a screen the ability to watch a movie the night it releases in theaters. I’m expecting a huge increase in home movie theaters around the world when this service eventually is brought to us.

What do you think? If this service were available to you, would you still go to the theater? Or would you and some friends buy these movies to stream at home?

Here’s one of the first articles that talk about Screening Room.

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11 Responses to The (Possible) Future of Movie Releases

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Personally, I hate this possible future! I am an avid movie-goer and part of the experience is sitting in the darkened theater watching the film on the big screen, surrounded by strangers who you are, in that moment, connected to. It is a pure, one-of-a-kind experience that cannot be matched streamed through a TV at home. I, for one, will remain a faithful member of the traditional cinema experience.

    -Meg Schmit

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I also am not a big fan of this new future. Going to the movies is a lot more fun than seeing it at home via a streaming service. I hope that we can still keep movie theaters around.

    -Jordan Hansgen

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I think that business may win out in the end. But that being said, cinema and theaters have persevered before (television’s initial release). Even if this streaming service emerges I think we’ll still have theaters to go to.

    – Russell

  4. mediaphiles says:

    While I think it’s an interesting idea, I hope that theaters do not become obsolete. I love going to the movies, too. Being in a theater allows me to focus on the film without any distractions. It is interesting, though, to see the decline in theaters. If people aren’t going because it’s so expensive (tickets, popcorn, etc.), why would they be inclined to pay for a $50 movie? In the end, there will always be those who opt to illegally download current movies. -Caitlin Herlihy

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I am torn on this idea. Since a lot of people do not like going to the theatre anymore, this might be a great way to have non-movie goers start watching films again! Yet, if it completely takes over, then movie theater lovers will miss out on an opportunity that brings a genuine film watching experience.

  6. mediaphiles says:

    This is a really compelling post. Personally, I love the experience of driving the the movies, sitting in a room with strangers, snacking on popcorn, and talking about the film with my family/friends on the drive back home. All those little details are a part of what makes going to the cinema such a unique and memorable experience.


  7. mediaphiles says:

    I think this is a very interesting idea that I think I would definitely use, but would hate to see it put theaters out of business. I love going to see movies in the theater and it would be a shame to see that go, but I think this service could be great for smaller films that don’t get as large of a release normally to reach a greater audience.

    -Walker Rise

  8. mediaphiles says:

    I just love the authenticity that the standard movie theatre atmosphere presents. There are some things that you can get there that you can’t get anywhere else. I really hope big business doesn’t win in this case, but it always finds a way.

    -Shelby Halliman

  9. mediaphiles says:

    I think this would be a great idea for the future. The Screening Room that would allow users to purchase new movies currently in theaters to stream at home, for a much higher price. It would be a competition for the theaters, but overall there should be a test trial.

    – John Armstrong

  10. mediaphiles says:

    Cal, I cannot fathom this. There is something to pure and unique about going to a theatre to see a film and freeing yourself from all distractions for two hours. It was such a gift as a child, every time that I went to see a film in the theatres- it was like Christmas was happening again! I can personally see some type of change happening to the theatre system, because of the decline of attendance, but I do feel as though people would eventually return to their old ways, if a service such as this were to be introduced. Thanks Cal!

    Luke Dellorso

  11. mediaphiles says:

    Thank you Cal for yet another insightful piece on the industry. I personally cannot imagine the changes that are likely to hit the film release industry, and I certainly don’t want movie theaters go extinct, because I love them! But I do agree that wha’t best for the business should at least be considered. I want the movie industry, as a business or an art, to develop!

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