Hollywood is bracing its self for massive upheaval as proposals to bring new release movies straight to the living room are being discussed.However, movie lovers shouldn’t get over excited just yet – the home cinema experience can be replicated but at an extremely high cost, with the L.A based company flouting a price tag of around $20,000.
The initial cost for installation of the digital cinema system would then require users of the service to pay $500 per film, a massive jump from the paltry $12-18 to gain entry into the local flicks.
The venture is being backed by US based companies Best Buy Co. and General Electric Co.’s Universal Pictures, who are said to have invested around $5 million venture capital, according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, it seems while some are worried about the impact on the movie business, others like Adam Fogelson, chairman of Universal Pictures, are less upset.
“Because it is a niche market, that upside should come without harming any of our existing partners or revenue streams,” he said.
Prima says it plans to install its first systems late next year and predicts it will have systems in 250,000 homes within five years.
Prima’s CEO, Jason Pang, insists he is not a tangible threat to the multi-billion dollar film industry, but rather will contribute further to its success.
“We’re not here to replace anything. We are trying to create new revenue streams for studios and new viewing opportunities for moviegoers,” he told the WSJ.
Prima have already met with six major Hollywood movie houses as well as several independent production companies about licensing their films.
If it goes ahead, it will put the current film distribution system which is staged in total disarray, where a movie is first released in theatres, then DVD, Blue-Ray and pay-per-view movie channels.
It would also offer a viable alternative to Netflix and video-on-demand (VOD) services, which are already eating into DVD sales.
Warner Bros. are also hatching similar plans, announcing they were “forefront of modifying the traditional distribution windows” earlier this year.
How long the service would take to come to Australian shores is uncertain, if at all.
At this year at the CES, when asked about IPTV Services and the Australian market the CEO of a major Hollywood movie house dismissed the market saying” what we make in a year in Australia selling movies we make in a week selling into the US market,” which appears not to bode well for the immediacy of the arrival of the in-house movie system.
If the system does materialise, one thing the sitting room cinema will lack is celebrities to open the film on premiere night…Naomi Watts and Brad Pitt at the door, anyone?