Universal Pictures has certainly opened a pandora’s box of negativity towards the latest move to open titles on premium VOD and in theatres concurrently. Cineworld has now joined AMC in refusing to show their films.
Since the unexpected success of Universal’s decision to release ‘Trolls World Tour’ on premium VOD, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell confirmed: “The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,”.
In an announcement, Cineworld stated, “Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency,”. They went on to add “Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us.”
We spoke about this earlier in the latest of our Mouth Off Quarantine Casts:
The current window for the release of PVOD is currently 90 days after the release of a film in theatres.
“Cineworld’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers,” the company said. “We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world to watch the movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie. Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the Covid-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas.”
AMC had previously started the war on Universal’s decision on Tuesday stating; “It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice, Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.”
The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) has also weighed in on the controversial issue and stated “This combination of unusual circumstances should not be used as a reference to re-design a longstanding and proven release business model, which remains crucial in ensuring the ongoing availability of films to the benefit of audiences,”
This could affect some of the biggest blockbuster releases in the film schedule with Universal currently having ‘Fast and Furious 9’, ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’, ‘Sing 2’ and even Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond in ‘No Time To Die’ all expected be released over the next 12 months.