The world’s largest cinema chain AMC and the film studio Universal have settled their bitter dispute with a deal that could change the entire industry. After three weekends, you should be able to see new films at home too – albeit at the price of going to the cinema.
The Hollywood studio Universal Pictures will be able to distribute its films in the US online just 17 days after the cinema release. These are so-called premium offers, in which films can be borrowed for 15 to 20 euros – i.e. at the price of a visit to the cinema. Still, the deal between Universal and the world’s largest cinema chain AMC has the potential to change the business of the entire industry. Because previously, new films were usually only shown in the cinema for several months – and the cinema operators defended this exclusivity.
The time window has already become shorter in recent years. But the corona crisis drastically accelerated business change once again – and that sparked a bitter dispute between Universal and AMC that has now been resolved.
While cinemas remained closed, many studios postponed the start of their potential blockbusters. Instead, Universal brought its animated film “Trolls World Tour” directly to the online rental in spring. That paid off: In three weeks, the film grossed just under $ 100 million in the US market alone. The head of the NBCUniversal group, Jeff Shell, then made a far-reaching announcement: “We assume that we will publish films in both formats when the cinemas reopen.” Cinemas then announced that they would no longer be showing any of the studio’s films.
AMC boss Adam Aron was now satisfied with the drastically shortened exclusive time window: The majority of the cinema proceeds typically record a film on the first three weekends, which are covered by the 17 days. He also hopes that studios will earn more money thanks to the model – and will thus be able to produce more films for the cinema. AMC assumes that the cinema experience with large screens and massive sound will continue to attract people. The cinema operator also wants to benefit from online distribution with its own AMC Theaters On Demand service.
The conditions for Europe are to be negotiated in the coming weeks, as AMC and Universal announced on Wednesday night. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the agreement.
Given the streaming boom, cinemas were already under pressure before the corona crisis and kept themselves afloat thanks to blockbusters such as the “Marvel” comic book films. Universal has potential cinema hits like the next films in the series “Jurassic World”, “Fast & Furious” and “Minions” in the pipeline.
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