‘Tower Heist’ Shuts Down Early VOD Program

Universal Pictures pulls the plug after theater chains threaten to boycott the upcoming comedy starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.
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Universal pulls the plug on Tower Heist premium video on demand experimentYesterday, we reported several theater chains were planning to boycott the upcoming comedy Tower Heist, in response to Universal Pictures' "premium home video on demand" experimental platform. The program was to be tested in Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia, which would enable Comcast customers in those regions to purchase Tower Heist for $59.99, just three weeks after its theatrical release on November 4. Today, Universal Pictures announced they are pulling the plug on this PVOD format. Here's the studio's official statement below.

"Universal Pictures today announced that in response to a request from theater owners, it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment in which Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta would have had the opportunity to rent Tower Heist on demand just three weeks after its theatrical release on November 4, 2011. Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future."

The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) also released a statement in response to Universal's decision.

"NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners' concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated. NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit."

Tower Heist was released November 4th, 2011.

Sources: Universal Pictures, National Association of Theater Owners

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