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Universal Studios had just gotten a massive hit with the VOD release of Trolls World Tour, and the film made so much money that the studio is now reconsidering releasing films on digital at the same time they come out in theaters. This hasn’t sat well with AMC who has publicly announced that they are boycotting Universal films from their theaters; and now Regal Entertainment is taking AMC’s side.
As per Indiewire, Regal has released a statement saying that they are also banning the screening of films from Universal Studios in their theaters. The statement read:
“Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us.”
It would make sense for theaters to want the exclusivity of screening films; after all, that’s the only reason people come into theaters. If Universal were to release films on VOD at the same time, it would be stealing away moviegoers. What’s more, the pirates will get their hands on the digital release and that just lessens theater audiences even more.
If anything, Universal is making this out to be some kind of misunderstanding from the theater chains. They released this statement after AMC made their move:
“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. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners but are disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.”
If anything, the success of Trolls 2 could only be thanks to the global pandemic which has forced people to watch their films at home. Maybe things would have been different if theaters were still functional. By any case, Universal’s idea to release both in theaters and VOD on the same day will greatly upset the ‘balance’ that the box office is striving for, so it would make sense that theaters would try their best to stop any more major shift in the machine.
By any case, theaters also have a lot to lose if they decide to boycott Universal. If this thing goes on until next year, AMC and Regal won’t be able to screen major franchise installments like Fast and Furious 9, Jurassic World Dominion, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out. Fingers crossed we get theaters up and running by June.