Sony has stirred up the ire of theater owners with its plans to offer Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to owners of Internet-enabled Sony brand Bravia TVs a mere 81 days after its theatrical bow. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Exhibition sources said Tuesday that at least four major theater chains were poised to pull "Meatballs" from theaters: Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Marcus Theatres.
Distributed in both 2D and 3D versions theatrically, "Meatballs," which bowed Sept. 18 in theaters, played last weekend in a total 1,126 venues and was expected to shed at least a few hundred engagements starting Friday. As a result of the exhib protest, "Meatballs" could play in as few as 300 theaters beginning this weekend.
"Meatballs" rung up $1.3 million last weekend. So the accelerated wind-down to the pic's theatrical campaign likely will cause a modest but quantifiable revenue loss for Sony. There's been little reaction from the DVD retail community to the distributor's digital moves with "Meatballs" and "Hancock," perhaps due to the high $24.95 price for the digital viewing.
Stay tuned to your Internet-enabled TVs...
, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
, release windows
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You don't have to make a Federal case out of it.
In regulatory filing today, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the chief lobbying group for the major studios, restated its support for a waiver of current Federal Communications Commission rules that would clear the way for a technology that would allow consumers to watch movies at home close to or during their theatrical release. The so-called selectable output control technology would prevent the illegal copying of movies, which has been a major stumbling block to delivering first-run movies directly to consumers.
"Many of us love movies, but we just can't make to the theater as often as we'd like. That is especially true for parents of young children, rural Americans who live far from the multiplex and people with disabilities that keep them close to the home,'' MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said in a statement. "Having the option to enjoy movies in a more timely fashion at home would be a liberating new choice."
This is actually not new. The initial MPAA request for the SOC waiver was made last summer. NATO filed comments with the FCC opposing the plan. The MPAA recently stepped up its campaign for the waiver and made a very public case for it today in a press release explaining its reasoning.
Variety notes NATO's response.
National Assn. of Theater Owners prexy John Fithian said his org is opposed to the MPAA's request because of the windows issue and not because of the antipiracy technology. He said it is disconcerting that the MPAA hasn't said exactly when a movie would be made available.
"We do oppose an undefined model of early release to the home. We want to know how early these movies are going to be released," said Fithian, who is meeting with the FCC this week on the issue.
Over at Deadline Hollywood, Nikki Finke looks at the story with typical restraint.
Tags: Dan Gkickman
, John Fithian
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