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AMC & Universal Strike A Deal: Early VOD Releases

Team Stardust
July 28, 2020

Universal Studios and AMC Theaters have been feuding ever since Universal skipped the theatrical release of Trolls World Tour to go with a VOD premiere.

In one of the more heated arguments in April, AMC chairman-CEO Adam Aron said that “effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.”

The hostility has simmered down over the past few months and seems to have ceased as a new, historic deal was struck between Universal and AMC. The two companies have put aside their differences and signed a multi-year agreement that allows the studio’s films to premiere on VOD within three weeks of the theatrical debut. The deal between Universal and AMC is just the beginning, as this deal is likely to spark changes across the film industry.

While the financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, Aron said that AMC “will share in these new revenue streams” from digital rentals.

Under the terms of the agreement, Universal cannot make films available for rent for under $20 until three months after the theatrical film premiere date. Once that timeframe expires,, the rental price can drop to the $3-6 range. In this new deal, Universal can technically make the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion and F9 available for rent OnDemand as early as 17 days after premiering in theaters. However, this seems unlikely due to the ability of these blockbusters to bring in high box office revenue for multiple weeks. 

The two companies praised each other for their respective work and claim to look forward to their alliance. Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Donna Langley, said, “The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business...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.”

Aron spoke on behalf of AMC and said, “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.”

Do you think the new release windows will help the movie theater and film industries? Let us know in the comments!