Hollywood hotshots hit back at studios downloading concept

A number of filmmakers that include the likes of Peter Jackson, Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron and some 20 others have sent a written letter protesting to Hollywood studios because of the studios decision to permit the downloading of movies into the home before the film had completed its theatre run. They say it will have sharp consequences on film making and the box office.

They are really upset that in just 60 days after cinema release some movies from Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox will be released to a premium video on demand (VOD) service. Prior to this agreement cinemas had about 120 days of exclusivity.

Even though there are already overlapping theatre releases and VOD the producers and directors are worried that the four biggest studios are now agreeing to the same. They along with owners of cinemas are warning dwindling audiences will be the result of reducing the window of exclusivity from 120 to 60 days.

Oscar winner Cameron, for Titanic and Avatar, has said that the cinema is the wellspring of the experience and why would you give your audience incentives to bypass your best form of the film. Just last week, Just Go With It starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston, was released to VOD only 70 days after having opened in cinemas.

The head of the National Association of Theatre Owners John Fithian warned of the results of this misguided adventure. This seems to amount to the next internet chapter in the revolution of home entertainment. In just 2010 the legal downloads for films increased from £35m to £78m. Walmart the owner of the Asda chain in Britain acquired the US VOD service.