World’s Largest Cinema Chain Will No Longer Show Any Films Made By Universal
The world’s largest cinema chain has said it will no longer show Universal films in a row over theatrical and home releases.
Adam Aron, the boss of AMC Theatres – the world’s largest cinema chain and owners of Odeon Cinemas – said the ban will cover its 1,000 cinemas worldwide following comments from NBCUniversal that the studio expected to release new movies via streaming services, even once cinemas reopen.
It comes after the success of Trolls World Tour‘s home release earlier this month; because cinemas were closed as a result of the current health crisis, Universal made the decision to move the film to video on demand and it has since made an estimated $100 million in North America alone.
However, Jeff Shell, the president and chief executive of NBCUniversal – the parent company of the film studio – has since suggested more films could be released this way in the future.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Shell said the film had ‘exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability’ of streaming, adding: ‘As soon as theatres reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.’
It’s these words which led to the ban, with Aron branding them ‘unacceptable’ in a letter to Universal Studios’ chair Donna Langley. He also accused the studio of ‘trying to have its cake and eat it too’.
The letter read, as per Deadline:
Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally on these terms. Accordingly, we want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind.
AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies. It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us.
It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us.
He went on to describe the comments as ‘disappointing’, saying he has been left ‘with no choice’ but to stop working with the studio, adding: ‘Effective immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.’
Universal Pictures has since responded to AMC, saying the studio would only look beyond cinema premieres ‘when it makes sense’. The company said in a statement, as per The Guardian: ‘We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary.’
The studio added that, going forward, they ‘expect to release future films directly to theatres’ – as well as on PVOD when that distribution makes the most sense.
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CreditsThe Wall Street Journal and 2 others
The Wall Street Journal