AMC Theaters & Universal Pictures Agree On Early PVOD Releases Before Theatrical Debuts

Insider Articles
July 29, 2020
by Kyle Brester
Jurassic World
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

In a stunning turn of events, Universal Pictures and AMC Theaters have laid down their weapons and signed a peace treaty. However, this peace treaty is sure to shake up the exhibition industry for good.

Both parties have agreed to sign a multi-year agreement that will allow Universal to premiere movies on premium video-on-demand (PVOD) within three weeks of their theatrical release. This deal is only for AMC's domestic theaters, but Universal will surely make a similar deal with AMC's international theaters.

There are some interesting elements to this deal. According to AMC's CEO Adam Aron, the company will "share in these new revenue streams," meaning that they will get a cut of any money made on Universal's digital rentals. Also, Universal releasing movies as PVOD first will mean that those rentals will go for about $20 each. They cannot sell or rent them for lower on-demand fees ($3-$6 dollars) until three months after they debut in cinemas.

Per Variety, Aron makes this statement: “Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theaters in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world. As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theaters will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn.”

In a way, Aron isn't wrong. It is entirely possible that their theaters can survive with this model. While Universal is probably going to use this new format for their mid-budget titles, comedies, and horror films, they certainly won't do the same for their blockbuster features like Jurassic World and Fast & Furious

That works well for AMC theaters (and Regal or Cinemark if they choose to) but the mom-and-pop theaters could end up hurting the most. These smaller theaters already don't have a voice when it comes to these types of deals in their industry and this situation won't change anything about that. They would unwillingly have to accept this new normal in order to save their business, and even still this outcome for them is unknown.

Thanks to Universal making this deal possible, other studios will come to AMC and ask for the same thing. Paramount, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. (and yes, I do believe Disney will ask about this too) will look at the deal made and will see what they can work out with AMC. I do think these studios already do a better job with exhibitors than Universal does, but I also think they will want to follow this new path too. This will lead to all of them going to Regal and Cinemark as well, and odds are they will also come up with similar deals.

I'm sorry to say, but independent theaters will have to figure out how to adjust to this new windowing model in the near future. After this deal, I see a major shift in the theater industry that will be rough for the smaller theaters.

A larger discussion of this subject will happen on the newest Off The Break Podcast episode this Friday.
Jurassic World
Jurassic World - Universal Pictures
Furious 7
Furious 7 - Universal Pictures
Minions: The Rise Of Gru
Minions: The Rise Of Gru - Universal Pictures
Halloween
Halloween - Universal Pictures
Search
 
The Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1M
The Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1MThe Tax Collector$0.2MJurassic Park$0.1MInside Out$0.1MThe Goonies$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Karate Kid (1984)$0.1MThe Rental$0.1MGremlins$0.1MBlack Panther$0.1MJaws$0.1M
00:00
00:00

Recent Podcasts