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James Cameron Slams Screening Room Again, Says Movies Should Be ‘Exclusively in Theaters on Initial Release’

CinemaCon 2016: Director slams Sean Parker’s proposal for home viewing, tells exhibitors he’s ”fully committed to the sanctity of the in-theater experience“

“Avatar” director James Cameron doubled down on his opposition to Sean Parker’s Screening Room proposal in a surprise appearance at CinemaCon on Thursday.

“My producing partner Jon Landau and I are fully committed to the sanctity of the in-theater experience,” he said at the end of the Fox presentation at Caesars Palace. “Regardless of what the folks associated with the Screening Room say, I firmly believe movies need to be exclusively in theaters on their initial release.”

Cameron has been one of the more outspoken and high-profile critics of the proposed plan, which would allow consumers to pay about $50 to screen new releases at home on the day they are released in theaters, after they buy a set-top box for about $200.

“There’s important point needs to be made: There’s always been some kind of threat to the moviegoing experience,” Cameron told theater owners on Thursday. “We’ve always answered that threat by being great — by showmanship!”

“Our job as filmmakers is to make films that play best on that big screen, that enormous canvas,” he added. “We’ll do our part to bring you films that are worthy of going on the big screen.”

Some other top directors — including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese — have endorsed the plan put forward by Parker, the former Napster founder, and his business partner Prem Akkarju, and stand to benefit as official advisors.

Parker’s proposal to upend the traditional theatrical business caused outrage for some in the exhibition community when it was announced months ago, as it would erase the current window of exclusivity theaters have with films before they hit VOD platforms for at-home consumption.

Also during the Fox presentation, Cameron announced that his plan to direct and produce three sequels to his blockbuster sci-fi hit “Avatar” had been expanded to four, with the first slated to hit theaters in 2018.