New Universal Agreement and AMC Cuts Theatrical Exhibition Window – / Film


The war is over.

AMC Theaters threw a huge crisis and vowed to never play Universal Pictures movies in its theaters after the studio was released Troll world tour on-demand video at the same time it hit theaters earlier this year. But now the two sides have come to an agreement and have reached a historic new deal that may become the new normal in the future.

This multi-year deal means Universal can put any of its films on PVOD (premium video on demand) in just three weeks after its theatrical debut. Before the pandemic hit, that “window” of time between theaters and digital release was three months, so the fact that America’s largest theater chain agreed to these terms is very important.

Variety reports that the president of AMC Adam Aron says his company will “share these new revenue streams,” which I believe marks the first time that a movie channel will receive a share of a digital studio rental. The deal says Universal can only release its films through premium on-demand services, which cost around $ 20 to rent, for up to three months after they debut in theaters. At this point, the studio will be able to lower the selling or rental price to more traditional asking prices (ex: $ 3 to $ 6 for rental).

This means that in theory Universal could release a huge movie like Jurassic World: Dominion or F9 in theaters, then drop it on PVOD just 17 days later. But the studio will likely take a ‘wait and see’ approach with every movie it releases, tracking each movie’s box office performance and deciding, by movie, if it will entice audiences to come to the theaters to see it. or if he can afford to drop it on demand. Universal says big movies will likely have longer exclusive theatrical series, but if a smaller movie comes along that performs surprisingly well at the box office, Universal has the right to keep it in theaters for as long as it wants.

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” said Donna Langley, President of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “The partnership we have forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a prosperous future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and discretion.”

“Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we note that just as restaurants have flourished even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is confident that moviegoers will come to our theaters in large numbers in a post-world. pandemic, ”Aron said. “While people love to leave their homes, we believe that the mystical escape and the magical common experience offered in our theaters will always be a compelling draw, including our big screens, our big sound and our big seats, not to mention the seductive aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn.

I expect other studios to make similar deals on their own in the coming days, but as Variety notes, this will likely have far-reaching effects across the entire film industry. (It could totally change the way a movie is marketed and the way money is allocated to marketing campaigns, for example.) While the point of sale refers to this as a “multi-year” deal, it’s unclear. not exactly how long these conditions will apply. But once consumers get used to this new standard, it looks like it will be difficult, if not downright impossible, to go back to the way it used to be.
I’m also curious if this is about inadvertently signing a death certificate for the theatrical experience. Putting the pandemic and all of those ramifications aside for a second, audiences have visited theaters less and less in recent years thanks to the increase in streaming entertainment and the increased quality of home entertainment setups. Now that people can wait only three weeks to see a movie, I can imagine that a lot of people take this opportunity to pay only $ 20 to watch a movie at home with their whole family instead of paying $ 100 to take along. the family at the movies a few weeks earlier to see the same movie.

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