Universal Responds To AMC Refusing To Play The Studio's Movies

Universal produces the Fast & Furious franchise, Jurassic World, and the upcoming Super Mario movie.

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Update: Universal has responded AMC boss Adam Aron's statements that the theater chain will no longer carry Universal movies. "We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary," Universal said in the statement (via The Hollywood Reporter). "As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theaters, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners but are disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.

"Our goal in releasing Trolls: World Tour on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move."

Original story below...

Universal's new Trolls movie, World Tour, skipped theaters and released digitally where it enjoyed massive success, bringing in $100 million in rentals over its first three weeks in the US. Not everyone is thrilled, however. One of the largest global movie theater chains, AMC Theatres, has fired back at Universal, and is now vowing to never show another Universal film again.

Universal CEO Jeff Shell told The Wall Street Journal that the success of Trolls World Tour in its new digital format demonstrated that paid video-on-demand can be a viable option for studios. He added that Universal plans to release its future movies digitally and in theaters. The digital release came amid the COVID-19 crisis where theaters globally are closed.

However, these comments ruffled the feathers of AMC boss Adam Aron. In a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter), Aron said Shell's comments were "disappointing."

"Jeff's comments as to Universal's unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice. Therefore, effectively immediately, AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe, or the Middle East," Aron said.

The statement goes on to say that AMC will also block the release of any other movie that "unilaterally abandons" the longstanding agreement between studios and theaters to release titles in cinemas first before putting them on digital stores.

"This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theaters reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way," Aron said. "It also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes."

Aron clarified that AMC is willing to meet with Universal to discuss how to move forward, but for now, "our decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end."

Universal produces a lot of movies. Some of their upcoming films include the Super Mario movie, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Fast & Furious 9.

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