If you were excited to see Halloween Kills, Candyman, Jurassic World 3, The Forever Purge, and Fast and The Furious 9. You will be disappointed to know that you might have to find another movie theater, because AMC Movie Theaters shut that shit down today.
Variety reported today that AMC Theaters decided to ban all Universal movies from showing at their theaters in the wake of NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell’s promise to open titles on premium and in theaters at the same time. Universal used the POVD format to release “Trolls: World World Tour”
on April 10 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and widespread theater closures rather than wait for theaters to re-open — which is unlikely to occur until mid-summer. The studio revealed Tuesday that “Trolls World Tour” took in $100 million in premium VOD rentals in its first three weeks of play in North America, a result that will push the film toward profitability.
“The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” Shell told the Wall Street Journal. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”
Prior to the pandemic, studios typically waited 90 days after a theatrical opening to release films digitally.
AMC Theaters chairman-CEO Adam Aron attacked the notion of breaking that 90-day window in a strongly worded letter to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley, saying the change in releasing policy is unacceptable.
“It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice,” he said. Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe or the Middle East,” Aron said in the letter.
“This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theaters reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes,” Aron said. “Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.”
“Universal’s unilateral pronouncements on this issue are unpalatable to us, as has always been the case, AMC is willing to sit down with Universal to discuss different windows strategies and different economic models between your company and ours,” he said. “However, in the absence of such discussions, and an acceptable conclusion thereto, our decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end.”