Despite how things may have seemed earlier this week, Regal movie theaters won't be boycotting Universal, or any other studio, over the choice to release movie on-demand. There has been a lot of fuss online this week over the reported success of Trolls World Tour, which Universal released on-demand earlier this month, rather than pushing back to a new date when theaters would be open once again. A Universal executive then stated that the studio would consider all release options for movies going forward, which caused AMC Theatres to boycott Universal in the future. Cineworld, owner of Regal, released a statement supporting AMC, and calling out Universal for its recent Trolls release, leading folks to believe it would be joining the boycott. Well that's not exactly the case.
Regal tweeted out a statement on Thursday, clarifying the statements made earlier in the week. Regal won't be boycotting any studios. The theater chain will instead continue with the rules it has always had in place, only showing movies that abide by the theatrical window. If a film is getting released on a streaming service or VOD platform took soon after its theatrical debut, that film won't be shown at Regal. This is nothing new.
"Regal is not boycotting Universal or any other studio," Regal said in the tweet. "We will continue our normal policy and play movies that respect the theatrical window, allowing movies to be released first in theatres prior to streaming or VOD platforms."
Regal is not boycotting Universal nor any other studio. We will continue our normal policy and play movies that respect the theatrical window, allowing movies to be released first in theatres prior to streaming or VOD platforms. pic.twitter.com/xQBX4uUHfG— Regal (@RegalMovies) April 30, 2020
This policy was in place before Trolls World Tour was released digitally, and it will remain in place going forward. That sentiment was in the initial statement from Cineworld, but it was misconstrued in the wake of AMC's ongoing battle with Universal.
"Cineworld’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers," Cineworld said in the statement. "We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world to watch the movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie."
If AMC, or any other theater chain, does choose to boycott Universal films, it will miss out on some major releases over the next couple of years. Fast & Furious 9, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Jurassic World: Dominion, and two Halloween sequels are all on the way. That's a lot of money to walk away from. It'll be interesting to see how all of this gets resolved in the coming months.