NATO President Calls Screening Room a ‘Distraction’ — But MPAA Will Meet With Sean Parker

CinemaCon 2016: John Fithian dismisses day-and-date pitch, but Chris Dodd will “hear what they have to say”

Chris Dodd, Sean Parker and John Fithian
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NATO President John Fithian called Sean Parker’s controversial home viewing concept the Screening Room a “distraction” on Tuesday, following his address to theater exhibitors at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Fithian, who made his remarks in conjunction with MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd, said it’s not up to Parker how theater owners decide to handle release windows.

“I view this whole Screening Room debate as a huge distraction,” Fithian told reporters at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. “It’s not for a third party to decide that.”

Dodd, who delivered a strong, wide-ranging address on issues like diversity and piracy, did say he has accepted a meeting request from Parker and his co-CEO Prem Akkaraju.

“They’ve asked to sit down and say hello … I’ll hear what they have to say. I don’t have any questions for them. Exhibitors should ask to sit down with Screening Room,” said Dodd, whose organization represents the major studios.

Parker’s proposal has been widely discussed at the convention, especially with word that Screening Room executives were hitting the town to hold casual meetings with studio heads outside the hotel walls.

In terms of the industry, both men had good news for the crowd — the global box office hit a record $38.3 billion in 2015. Domestically, moviegoing was up 2 percent from 2014 and total box office rose from $10.4 billion to $11.1 billion year over year.

Between the U.S. and Canada, 1.32 billion tickets were sold, with just over half of audiences skewing female .