Weeks after completely swearing off movies from Universal, AMC Theatres has reversed course and will be showing the blockbusters at AMC locations around the world after all. A new deal between the studio and exhibitor is being touted as a "historic" deal that could shape how theaters play ball with studios in a post-COVID world. In a new report from Variety, AMC Theatres is only requiring Universal to have a 17-day exclusive on theatrical releases before the studio can release them through VOD.
Under the new agreement, AMC will get a chunk of the VOD sales, which are now required to be premium rentals that hover around the $20 range for a 24-hour span. All Universal theatrical releases will now have to have to premium pricing should they go to VOD after the three-week theatrical grace period as opposed to a cheaper price some services offer.
The previous standard has seen studios and exhibitors agree to a 90-day period of theater exclusivity as an attempt to get moviegoers into theaters instead of waiting for a home media release.
“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," AMC's chief Adam Aron said in a statement. "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.”
Universal chairman Donna Langley added that the studio remains committed to showing films in theaters, adding this new deal provides the best of both worlds should consumers not feel safe going to theaters for an extended time. “The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” Langley said. “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.”
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