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PVOD Options for Universal Movies Could Be Considered on a ‘Title by Title’ Basis, Comcast CFO Says

Fern Siegel

“Trolls World Tour” proved to be a success story for NBCU — raking in more than $100 million as paid VOD. The release was so lucrative that CEO Jeff Shell said the company would duplicate efforts for future films. And while AMC Theatres threatened a ban on hearing the news, PVOD remains a key part of the mix.

At a J.P. Morgan media conference on Wednesday, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanaugh echoed that sentiment. (Comcast is the parent company of NBCU.) He said for Universal titles, PVOD options could be considered on a “title by title” basis, noted Deadline.

Cavanaugh said the decision was in the best financial interests of the company.

“We’re certainly getting good feedback from folks who have watched the movie, and it continues to do well. But it is obviously a function of the world we have where theaters are closed,” he told investors.

While “Trolls” clicked on PVOD, there are other blockbusters films, such as “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” that have been moved to a February 2021 theatrical release date. The profit margins — a film release followed by a video release — have taken a big hit.

Given the pandemic, Disney made “Onward,” a Pixar animated film, available for digital purchase months ahead of schedule. The film hit movie theaters on March 6, but began streaming on Disney+ April 3. Similarly, “Artemis Fowl,” originally slated for a late May release, will be available June 12.

With the status of movie theater openings in flux, Cavanaugh added: “It’s probably a two-year story until we get back to releasing big movies.”

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