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Cineworld Rejects Universal-AMC PVOD Deal as Bad Business

Fern Siegel

Not every theater chain is on board with the new Universal-AMC PVOD deal.

Universal and Focus Features will keep their films in an AMC theater for at least 17-days before a PVOD run. This move upends the long-established 90-day window between a theatrical and digital download. As part of the deal, the movie theater chain also receives an undisclosed “share” of streaming revenues.

The world’s second-largest movie chain, Cineworld, doesn’t see the business upside.

CEO Mooky Greidinger told Deadline: “People need to be aware that the first big movie from Universal is coming only in six months so there is no pressure here. But we clearly see this as a wrong move at the wrong time. Clearly, we are not changing our policy with regards to showing only movies that are respecting the theatrical window.”

In April, Greidinger said Cineworld would not show movies that failed to honor windows. The company issued a press release noting: “Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency.”

Cineworld has muscle in the industry. It owns Regal Entertainment, which has 7,155 screens in 542 theaters in 42 states. Worldwide, it has 9,500 screens in 10 countries at 787 sites.

As for what’s upcoming on Universal’s slate: The trade reports it has “offshore distribution” on the next Bond movie “No Time To Die.” In addition, its blockbusters arrive in 2021: “F9,” “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”