Backed by Sean Parker and Prem Akkaraju, Screening Room proposes that consumers watch new movies over a 48-hour window beginning the day of its theatrical release via a set-top box that would cost roughly $150. According to the proposal, theater owners and studios would collect as much as $20 each of the $50 fee for a new movie.
Screening Room has divided Hollywood’s top directors this month, with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Peter Jackson leading the Screening Room charge, and Christopher Nolan, James Cameron and many more opposed to the idea.
Asked for his thoughts on Screening Room, Bekmambetov said “I’m for it. I think it will help. Some movies must be played only in the theater, but some movies can be played in theaters and at home. I think it’s great because we will have more different forms of enjoying movies.”
While some filmmakers are concerned that the home viewing experience will lessen the impact of their films due to diminished picture and sound, but Bekmambetov is less concerned with the technical presentation of his films than with the shared experience only found at movie theaters. If the audience doesn’t care about watching a movie with the best possible sound or the picture, that’s their prerogative.
Does that mean Bekmambetov won’t mind if people watch his upcoming remake of “Ben-Hur” in their living rooms?
“It depends what kind of TV set or computer you have. If you want to enjoy the sound, you will buy the ticket and go with a crowd. For me, it’s not about the quality of the sound or the picture, it’s about watching movies with a crowd. That’s a big deal for me. It’s more important than the audio,” Bekmambetov said, while stressing his support for Screening Room, which could help smaller, more experimental films get made.
Bekmambetov told TheWrap he sees “Hardcore Henry” as an experiment of sorts, since it reinvents traditional film language by employing a first-person POV in which the film’s protagonist is never seen. His production company, Bazelevs, also produced last year’s shared-screen horror movie “Unfriended” and has another shared-screen comedy titled “Liked” in post-production.
Stay tuned for TheWrap’s full interview with Bekmambetov as the April 8 release of “Hardcore Henry” draws near.