AMC Theatres and Universal Pictures recently served a big shake-up to the movie industry by cutting a deal that will allow new, theatrical releases to debut on premium VOD 17 days after their initial release. This is something theater chains have fought against for years. And it seems Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, is going to continue to fight against it.
Regal is the second-largest chain in the U.S., trailing only AMC. Cineworld, overall, operates more than 787 theaters across ten countries. Following news of the recent deal, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger responded. Per Gridinger, they simply don't see any value in making such a deal themselves.
"At Cineworld/Regal, we are not changing our policy with regards to showing only movies that respect the theatrical window. We do not see any business sense in this model."
Details of the deal are currently not known but AMC will participate in the premium VOD profits. These movies will typically go for a rental price in the neighborhood of $20. Universal had luck doing this with titles like Trolls World Tour earlier this year. The problem for theater chains is that this will seemingly discourage certain viewers from heading to the box office. Instead, opting to wait for the VOD release. Mooky Greidinger, speaking further, made it clear Cineworld would not be seeking to shorten the current exclusive theatrical window.
"While we don't know the full details and we are always analyzing any move in the industry, we will analyze it. People need to be aware that the first big movie from Universal is coming only in six months so there is no pressure here. But we clearly see this as a wrong move at the wrong time. Clearly we are not changing our policy with regards to showing only movies that are respecting the theatrical window."
Currently, theaters enjoy an exclusive window of close to three months for theatrical releases. In theory, this new deal with Universal could allow big titles like F9 or Jurassic World: Dominion to be made available from the comfort of hame less than three weeks after they hit theaters. Though it is currently believed that Universal will mostly stick to exercising this option with mid-budget movies, keeping a longer theatrical window for major blockbusters. But the problem is that exhibitors like Regal may not take too kindly to the studio releasing these movies early on VOD. Both Regal and AMC butted heads with Universal earlier in the year when the studio said it would continue the practice of premium VOD releases.
Ultimately, this could lead to Regal, or other chains, refusing to show big movies that don't adhere to the agreed-upon exclusive theatrical window. It is also important that this multi-year deal with AMC only extends to the U.S. It also hasn't been revealed precisely how long the deal extends for. In any event, the movie business as we know it is in the middle of a seismic shift and it could get rocky before a new normal is settled upon. This news comes to us via Deadline.