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Watch newly released movies at home? CinemaCon 2016 takes up the debate.

Paramount Pictures presented upcoming movies like 'Ben-Hur' to theater owners as an initiative called the Screening Room, which would allow movie watchers to watch new releases at home, seemed to be on the minds of many.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Filmmaker J.J. Abrams accepts the Showman of the Year Award during the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2016.

Paramount Pictures presented various upcoming films at this year’s CinemaCon, which has film studios promote their new movies to theater owners, as discussion over a possible home viewing system continues. 

Paramount Pictures’ upcoming films which were seen at CinemaCon in Las Vegas included the remake of the classic 1950s film “Ben-Hur,” a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” sequel, and a film version of “Baywatch.” The first two are set to debut this summer and “Baywatch” will come out in 2017. 

Others that will present at CinemaCon include Warner Bros. and Sony. 

As the event continues, one possible innovation that seems to be on the minds of both theater owners and those at the studios is an initiative called the Screening Room, which includes Sean Parker of Napster and Prem Akkaraju. The idea is that moviegoers would pay $50 a movie to watch new films at home. (Users would also pay $150 for a box for their TVs.) Studios and theater owners would receive a share of the profits. 

Some surmised that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams was discussing this idea during his acceptance speech for the showman of the year prize at CinemaCon. 

“Much has been said of other technologies that threaten the theater experience – and of course I am no expert, and I’m open to all points of view and good ideas to keep theaters thriving,” Mr. Abrams said during his speech, according to TheWrap. “But we need to do everything we can in this age of piracy digital technology and disruption to be thoughtful partners in the evolution of this medium. We have to adapt. It’s going to be required of all of us. We need to meet that challenge with excitement and create solutions and not fear. But in my view, it’s simple: There is nothing better than going to the movies and there never will be.” 

John Fithian, National Association of Theatre Owners CEO and president, shared his thoughts on the Screening Room with Variety. (CinemaCon is the convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners.)

“Our membership understands that we have to be sophisticated about business models,” Mr. Fithian said. “But we have to work together, studios and exhibitors, to find ways to evolve and grow the pie. Those ideas won’t come from third parties. They will come from within the industry.”

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