Universal Studios are convinced of the film streaming at home and announce that they will continue to bring their blockbusters onto screens and televisions in the future. The cinema operator AMC is not enthusiastic about this and is now using hard means.
Almost all cinemas worldwide are closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To the delight of all film fans, studios like Universal decided early on not to put their strips exclusively on the screen, but also directly to the viewers’ homes via well-known streaming providers such as Apple iTunes and Amazon Video. With success: NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell told the Wall Street Journal that the recently released film “Trolls World Tour” has already grossed more than $100 million via digital distribution in North America alone.
Apart from the coronavirus situation, Universal recognizes the trend towards video streaming and plans to publish films both in the cinema and online even after the worldwide reopening of the cinemas. In the USA, the in-house streaming platform Peacock would be an option. Cinema operators would be left behind since they too are fighting against falling visitor numbers due to steadily rising prices. Only a day after the WSJ interview with Jeff Shell, the situation escalates.
The largest cinema chain in the USA is now at war
As The Hollywood Reporter reports, Shell’s statements by AMC Theaters boss Adam Aron are described as “unacceptable”. As a consequence, AMC will ban all universal films from its more than 1,000 cinemas in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. The CEO of the largest US cinema chain continues to threaten other film studios. If these also decide to change their sales policy without prior consultation with AMC, the exclusion will also be considered in these cases.
It is interesting to see that upcoming films from Universal Studios include the ninth part of the Fast & Furious series (F9), Jurassic World: Dominion, Sing 2, and various DreamWorks animated films could play a critical role in company’s profit and revenues, however, streaming block could cost them a lot. In cooperation with Illumination Entertainment and Nintendo, a film about the well-known video game plumber Mario is also planned for 2022 and Universal also has the distribution rights for the upcoming James Bond flick No Time to Die outside the United States. It remains to be seen how the company will react to the reaction of the AMC Theaters.