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AMC and Universal Reach Deal to Give 17 Day Theatrical Window to Films

Jason Gurwin

Amid theater closures, some major production companies opted to take their new films to PVOD immediately upon release and found success. Universal, for example, released “Trolls World Tour” on-demand for $19.99 in April and amassed over $100 million in the first three weeks it was available.

In the wake of that trial run, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell said that more digital-only releases were “inevitable,” sparking AMC to say it would no longer show the industry leader’s films at its brick-and-mortar locations.

When theaters do open, the two sides have reached a truce. Universal and Focus Features have agreed to make films available exclusively in theater for at least 17-days ahead of Premium Video On-Demand (PVOD). This would be drastically shorter than the normal 75-day window between a theatrical and digital download.

AMC CEO Adam Aron said the company “enthusiastically embraces this new industry model both because we are participating in the entirety of the economics of the new structure, and because premium video on demand creates the added potential for increased movie studio profitability, which should in turn lead to the green-lighting of more theatrical movies.”

In addition to being able to sell films on AMC Theaters On-Demand, it’s expected that they will get a cut of PVOD sales.

AMC is planning to re-open theaters in August, after being shutdown in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19. They have reopened theaters in Norway, Germany, Spain and Portugal, but pushed back their original plans to open in July.

Universal has major blockbusters on their schedule, staring with Bond film “No Time to Die” in November. Next year, the company has the sequel to Get Out, Fast & Furious 9, and Jurassic World: Dominion.

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