VOD Opposition - Producers, Directors Sign Letter In Retaliation
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) paid to have the letter printed in Variety, an industry publication.
“Why on earth would you give audiences an incentive to skip the highest and best form of your film? My films aren't going to the home early, but many will, and that will weaken the movie theater industry—and then my movies are threatened,” said James Cameron, who signed and helped NATO gain support for the letter.
Home Premiere, the VOD service, is scheduled to begin Thursday with the film “Just Go With It,” which customers can rent for $29.99.
People like Michael Bay, Peter Jackson and Kathryn Bigelow, who signed the letter, are concerned that shortening the theatrical release window will negatively affect industry revenue.
“What sells for $30-a-viewing today could be blown out for $9.99 within a few years. If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Some theaters will close,” stated the letter.
The letter says VOD would negatively alter consumer habits, make already ramped film piracy worse and greatly limit theater owners to play specialty films in platform release patterns. In addition to the issue of money, directors and producers are in fear for their art.
“Whether they are the makers of blockbusters or independent films, Oscar winners or just starting their careers, all have expressed extreme concern over announced plans to shorten the distribution window, and stated their desire that films can be seen in the venues they were made to be seen in: movie theaters,” said NATO President and CEO John Fithian, who has met with many people in the film industry to discuss VOD.
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