LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1, 2015: Vin Diesel at the world premiere of his movie "Furious 7" at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood. April 1, 2015 Los Angeles, CA - Image (Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com)
After the release of the 'Trolls World Tour,' Universal Pictures movies.
AMC Theaters fires back at Universal Pictures. The movie chan announced it would no longer play any of the studio's films after NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell's promised to release titles on premium and in theaters.
During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, movie theaters across the nation closed their doors. Universal released the "Trolls World Tour" movie on-demand on April 10.
The studio revealed Tuesday that "Trolls World Tour" made $100 million in premium Video-On-Demand rentals in three weeks in the United States, a result which made the movie profitable during a crisis.
“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.”
Before the pandemic, studios usually waited around three months after releasing the movie in theaters to release the film on streaming services.
AMC Theaters chairman-CEO Adam Aron fired back saying Universal violated the 90-day window.
“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.”
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 10, 2018 - Entrance to AMC River East 21 Theaters, sittuated on 322 East Illinois Street during evening hours with people walking (Editorial credit: Moab Republic / Shutterstock.com)
“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.”
There are several major motion pictures from Universal Studios coming soon. These include the following:
- Fast & Furious 9
- Minions: The Rise of Gru
- Sing 2
- Jurassic World: Dominion
A spokesperson responded to AMC's decision to Variety,
saying, "Our goal in releasing ‘Trolls: World Tour’ on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing ‘Trolls: World Tour,’ which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear."
“Our desire has always been to efficiently deliver entertainment to as wide an audience as possible,” Universal said. “We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary. As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners but are disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.”
Earlier this week, Universal announced they would skip a theatrical release for "The King of Staten Island," which is a semi-autobiographical comedy starring Pete Davidson and directed by Judd Apatow. The new movie will premiere on June 12, a week before it was scheduled to debut.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. releasing "Scoob," is heading to streaming services next month. Disney announced "Artemis Fowl" will launch exclusively on Disney Plus in June.
AMC is already facing hard times. The movie chain may stay shut down for many more months due to the pandemic. AMC Entertainment announced plans on April 16 to raise $500 million in debt to cover its losses. The funds will be paid back in 2025, which should keep the company going until the middle of summer, AMC said. That said, Wall Street Analysts are pessimistic and believe the company is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.
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