Studio and Theaters Reach Deal That Could Affect How We Watch Movies

As part of a new deal that’s being applauded by the National Association of Theater Owners, movie buffs may not have to wait as long before films leave the multiplex and are available to watch at home.

There’s a movement afoot to lessen the wait time between the date a movie leaves theaters and when you can watch it in the comfort of your own home.

Historically, studios have waited about 90 days after a movie hits theaters before making it available to watch elsewhere, according to The Wall Street Journal. But in a new deal between Paramount Pictures and two theater operators—AMC Entertainment and Canada’s Cineplex, Inc.—that window may be closing.

As part of the agreement, two of Paramount’s low-budget horror films, out this October, will be released for home viewing roughly two weeks after they are no longer showing in fewer than 300 theaters. This would equate to a period of about 50 days after the films premiere, should box office sales follow past industry patterns.

It’s a plan that could cut down on marketing costs for the studio as well as help to deter pirating. To make the deal more appealing to theater owners and help protect them from any potential financial loses, Paramount has also agreed to share a portion of revenue from digital downloads of the films on platforms such as iTunes and video-on-demand, once they’re made available for home viewing.

The National Association of Theater Owners is praising Paramount for the deal.

“For several years we’ve been asking for the studios to work with theater owners on developing new models and ways to grow the whole pie and market in ways that don’t damage a film’s theatrical run,” said NATO spokesperson Patrick Corcoran, as reported by Variety. “We applaud Paramount for discussing this with theater owners.”

Meanwhile, to compete with the convenience of home viewing, some theaters are pulling out all the stops to draw audiences away from their TVs and back to the multiplex. AMC Entertainment, for one, is outfitting some of its theaters with fancy new recliners, and it seems to be working. Ticket sales at the theaters with the more comfortable seating option are outpacing AMC’s non-recliner theaters and the industry, according to Quartz.

“The theatrical experience hasn’t really evolved over a long period time,” Matthew Viragh, founder and executive director of Brooklyn’s Nighthawk Cinema, which now offers food and drinks to theater patrons, told CNBC. “But now, with these emerging competitive services at home, the movie industry has to kind of look in the mirror and re-evaluate how they’re doing things.”

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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