“The discussion of the Screening Room is a huge distraction this week,” said NATO President and CEO John Fithian, “We have a lot of things to discuss, and this whole Screening Room is a distraction for us working together.” He wasn’t slamming the concept, but rather his point was that there was more upbeat news to talk about as the motion picture industry walked away from a banner year with $11.1B domestic and $38.3B worldwide.
MPAA chief Christopher Dodd did mention that he’s meeting with the Screening Room officials during his CinemaCon, but he said the meeting wasn’t any different from the ones that he takes during the confab with movie technology companies. Deadline understands that the meeting will not be over any commercial matters, rather technology copyright topics.
“Whether the Screening Room model is acceptable is a question for Chris’ members, not my members,” said Fithian.
“Chris and I promote processes and we promote partnerships, we don’t decide business models,” said Fithian as the CinemaCon press corps looking for a holy answer on whether a day-and-date streaming plan for major studio films is good for the business.
“Unless a majority of Chris’ members and my members are interested in the model, it’s not an issue,” said Fithian. “But in the modern world, we have to talk about having more sophisticated business models.”
Fithian gave some props to Paramount for how it handled the discussion on shortening the windows for Paranormal Activity 6 and Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Per the NATO chief, the studio started meeting with exhibitors about the concept, which was the right approach, “but they didn’t get far enough. That’s what I told Rob Moore. ‘You gotta keep going; you can’t just get a few.’ But that’s a concrete example of how these types of discussions can grow.”
In regards to the issue of exhibitor clearances, Fithian said, “We don’t address issues of clearances. That’s what I told the Justice Department.”