AMC Theatres and Universal Strike Deal to Allow New Films to Be Streamed at Home Sooner

July 29, 2020

    It will now take less time for some films to go from the multiplex to your living room.

    AMC Theatres has struck a groundbreaking deal with Universal that will shrink the timeframe in which the studio’s films must play in cinemas before they can be made available on premium video-on-demand, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Under the terms of the new agreement, Universal’s films only have to be released in theaters for 17 days, or three weekends. Upon meeting that requirement, the studio is free to release the title on premium video-on-demand.

    In the past, studios would typically have to wait anywhere from 70 - 90 days before making theatrical releases available for home consumption.

    While it doesn’t guarantee that films will be available to rent or buy within 17 days, it does give Universal the option. This bodes particularly well should a film underperform at the box office, the studio could turn around quickly and release it for viewers who didn’t show up to theaters.

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

    The agreement comes after AMC Theatres had previously threatened to boycott all Universal films from its cinemas after the studio made “Trolls World Tour” available on PVOD, following the shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But it’s clear the two companies have worked out their differences.

    “AMC enthusiastically embraces this new industry model both because we are participating in the entirety of the economics of the new structure, and because premium video on demand creates the added potential for increased movie studio profitability, which should in turn lead to the green-lighting of more theatrical movies,” said AMC CEO Adam Aron.

    While neither Universal nor AMC revealed what a new movie might cost on premium-video-on-demand, “Trolls World Tour” and other recent releases have typically been priced at $19.99 for a 48-hour rental.

    Last week, AMC Theatres announced they wouldn’t be reopening cinemas until “mid to late August.”

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