AMC says it will no longer show Universal Studios films
AMC Entertainment says its theaters will no longer show movies released by Universal Studios after the company announced plans to releases more movies digitally day and date with the theater releases.
The Hollywood Reporter says the announcement came Tuesday after NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell commented on the success of forgoing a theater release for 'Trolls: World Tour' and releasing it straight on digital. The decision to release the movie digitally came after major movie theater chains closed nationwide last month due to the coronavirus outbreak.
After the successful digital launch of 'Trolls', Shell revealed the studio would seek to release more movies on digital platforms alongside theater releases in the future. The comments prompted a pointed response from AMC executives.
“AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a letter addressed to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley.
With theaters still closed because of the virus, AMC said the decision would take effect whenever theaters are finally able to reopen. The company previously said it expects to reopen in late June at the earliest.
Universal released the following statement to CNBC in response:
“Our goal in releasing Trolls: World Tour on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing Trolls: World Tour, which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear,” the statement said. “Our desire has always been to efficiently deliver entertainment to as wide an audience as possible. We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary. As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense.”
Universal said it expects to engage in more private talks with AMC in the near future regarding the policy.
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