AMC cinemas will no longer play Universal films from the date that “unacceptable” comments by NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell on his decision to bypass a traditional theatrical release for Trolls World Tour and make it digital exclusive, depending The Hollywood Reporter.
In a new interview with the Wall Street newspaper, Jeff Shell noted that Trolls World Tour met their expectations, generating nearly $ 100 million in revenue from digital sales alone and more than five million copies sold.
As a result, Shell noted that “as soon as the cinemas reopen, we plan to release films in both formats”, which means that some films would continue with theatrical releases while others would go directly to digital retailers or possibly would land on NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock. . The move led to a lengthy statement by AMC Theaters President and CEO Adam Aron, who said Shell’s comments were “unacceptable.”
“It’s disappointing for us, but Jeff’s comments about Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions left us with no choice,” Aron wrote. “As a result, AMC will no longer broadcast Universal films in any of our cinemas in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. “
AMC Theaters is the largest movie chain in the United States, and the loss of access to its theaters is a devastating blow to the biggest upcoming movies from Universal, including F9. The ninth installment of the Fast and furious The franchise was delayed this year until April 2021, when Universal expected to give it an appropriate theatrical release. F9 is a film that is expected to generate close to a billion dollars at the box office worldwide, if not more. It seems unlikely that Universal would give up its share of this revenue, but Aron reiterated in his statement that it was not a “hollow or thoughtless threat.”
“This policy affects all Universal films per se, takes effect today and the reopening of our cinemas, and is not an empty or thoughtless threat,” Aron said in his letter. “By the way, this policy is not just aimed at Universal by spades or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any director who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices in the absence of good negotiations faith between us, so that they as a distributor and us as the exhibitor will benefit and not suffer from these changes. “
Universal is not the only studio to bypass the theatrical releases of some of its films, but Shell is one of the only executives who “envision a radical change from the status quo,” according to Aron. That’s why, despite the move of WarnerMedia and Disney Scoob! and Artemis Fowl for streaming and digital exclusives, AMC has not prohibited them from playing movies. However, the heads of WarnerMedia and Disney have both made similar comments when considering their distribution options.
Trolls World TourSuccess on demand comes at a particularly frightening time for movie theaters. Independent theaters and major chains expect bleak prospects for the rest of the year. AMC cinemas currently generate no revenue, with cinemas across the country remaining closed.