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imagesNetflix fired the proverbial shot across the bow, and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) thinks them are fightin’ words. In a recent keynote speech, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos opined that theater owners were hurting the movie business with their inflexibility and shrinking theatrical windows. NATO begs to differ.

The organization’s president and CEO John Fithian feels that if anyone is imperiling the movie biz, it’s Netflix. Said Fithian:

“Subscription movie services and cheap rentals killed the DVD business, and now Sarandos wants to kill the cinema as well,”

Fithian also takes issues with Sarados’ recommendation that Netflix begin streaming films on the same day they hit theaters:

“The only business that would be helped by day-and-day release to Netflix is Netflix. If Hollywood did what Sarandos suggests, there wouldn’t be many movies left for Netflix’s customers or for anyone else. It makes absolutely no business sense to accelerate the release of the lowest value in the chain.”

Ouch. One wonders how Netflix, who is coming off of a fantastic year and really starting to show its clout, feels about being referred to as “the lowest value in the chain.” Do you think Fithian has a point here, Insiders, or is he demonstrating the inflexibility that Sarandos mentioned?

[via Deadline]

7 Responses to “War of Words Heats Up Between Netflix, Theater Owners”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Segarolow [visitor]

    A. I stopped going to the theater years back. Why?
    1. The Cost to get in.
    2. 95% of the movies are not worth the cost to get in.
    3. The out of control people & kids.
    4. People going 90 on the cell phone next to you.
    5. Last weeks Pop Corn & water Cokes.
    For the price on one ticket to get into the theater. You can have Netflix for a month.Maybe more.
    And watch what you want & when you want. With No out of control kids/people. No person going 90 on the cell phone. And you can have REAL Cokes. And good Hot Pop Corn with REAL BUTTER.
    Just set yourself up a nice home theater. And have fun. I put my Bucks into one. And glad I did.. Yes! Yes! there are Movies that need to be seen on the Big Big screen. But I have not run into one in years on end..
    Home in my Home Theater is where my Movies are at…

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Chad [visitor]

    I don’t go to the theater as much as I used to, but still do some of the time. One of the keys to maximizing value is to check out reviews on the internet and only go to movies with good reviews. Going to the theater is an American institution and something fun to get out and do. I don’t want to give it up completely. Ever. Nothing beats the size of a commercial theater screen (even though they have shrunk in recent years). And I have a 107″ screen at home.

    Things I have learned:

    If people are out of control, their kids are out of control, they are being rude with cell phones, etc., then talk to theater management and ask them to either take care of the problem or refund your money. Honestly, I’ve only had to do that once or twice in the last few years. Maybe I’m lucky, but most of the time I go (which is usually never on the weekend) people are well mannered.

    Never have any problem with their popcorn. Don’t know what a water coke is. Seems like you’re possibly exaggerating.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Segarolow [visitor]

      A. Could not find the Mgr…….
      B. The Pop Corn was Cold.
      C. The Coke was flat……
      And you are so right.. Never Go on the weekends….
      I have a 8 Ft wide. 4 Ft high Screen. A good BluRay player.
      A good LED Projector.
      YES. Some movies you need to see on the Very big screen.
      But I have not seen one like that for years.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Anne DeAcetis [visitor]

    Fithian can complain about Netflix all he wants, his real problem is the tragic lousiness of the in-theatre movie experience. See my open letter to him here.!open-letter-to-john-fithian/cm1z

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Segarolow [visitor]


      You said it 100% Right. You too the words right out of my mouth.
      But do you really think it will do any good.?
      No, I think not..
      Millions are fed up with everything at the theater.
      I know I am… So I put my $$ into a good home theater.
      And rent the movies. Buy them on DVDs. And USE NetFlix. RedBox and the new W/B’s online deal..

  4. Member [Join Now]
    Shemp Howard [shemp-howard]

    Where’s William Castles when you need ’em! ;)