AMC Theaters And Universal Come To A Deal For On-Demand Movies

After a long battle, the theater chain and movie studio have developed a new plan.


While movie theater chains continue to push back re-opening dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, AMC Theatres and Universal Pictures--who had a spat back in April after Universal released Trolls: World Tour on-demand--are coming to an agreement on the future of movie releases. The plan involves a compromise between theatrical and home digital releases of new movies.

With AMC now looking to reopen its movie theaters in mid-August, the chain has come to an agreement with Universal on the distribution of profits for digital rentals, according to Variety. Now, Universal will have the ability to release on-demand for a roughly $20 rental fee--much like Invisible Man and The Hunt did earlier this year. The studio cannot sell or rent the movies for lower fees until three months after the films release in theaters. And AMC will get a cut of the money made this way. However, the specifics of the terms were not disclosed.

Variety notes that while movies from major franchises like Jurassic World and Fast & Furious could appear on-demand for a premium price, these blockbusters are more likely to have long runs in theaters, so it would be a much longer wait until the three-month rental period could begin. Smaller and mid-level films that normally wouldn't have a long theater run could be rented at a cheaper price much sooner.

Specifics regarding what Universal movies could be coming to an on-demand service were not revealed at this time.

"Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theatres in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world," AMC's CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. "As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theatres will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn."

While AMC is the largest theater chain, what does that mean for all the other movie theaters around the globe? Details of the deal only state AMC and Universal are working together. At this time, it's unknown how other theaters and movie studios could fit into this scenario in the future.

"The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business," said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. "The partnership we've forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality."

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