cellphone.jpgAn Italian cell phone company has won the right to distribute feature films on cellphones just 10 days after they premiere in theaters. Distributor Eagle Pictures previously tried to back out of their deal to provide content for Hutchinson H3G (who provide Italian cell phone services from a base in Hong Kong) once they learned of the cellular company's plan to distribute The Interpreter to Italian cell phones uncomfortably close to the picture's theatrical release. In retaliation, H3G went to court to win the right to break the window – and won. Their next move will be to offer their customers the ability to download Memoirs of a Geisha directly to their phones as early as December 27.

Italian film distributors are predictably pissed. Says Paolo Protti, chief of Anec, Italy's exhibitors organization: "We absolutely cannot accept that a firstrun movie becomes available on mobile devices 10 days after its release." He warns that the exhibitors will fight the ruling with all their might. But H3G is unlikely to back down. Their end goal? To become the first company in the world to offer firstrun films for cell phone download, with unlimited viewing for one week, for about $10.50.

To my mind, there are two questions here. A) would you pay the price of a movie ticket to be able to watch a new release on your phone, and B) if this kind of service was available in the US, what kind of effect would it have on box office and – because you can't really talk about one without the other anymore – piracy? I think $10.50 is stupid high price to be able to watch anything on a cell phone – unless there was someway to easily get the content off the phone and onto some other sort of viewing device, which, from what I've read, isn't clear. What do you think?
categories Movies, Cinematical