Universal Pictures reaches deal with AMC Theatres

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(Universal’s The Invisible Man)

Good news. Universal Pictures has reached a deal with AMC Theatres which means that the studio now has the option of releasing any of its titles (including those from Focus Features) on VOD (Video on Demand) platforms after just 17 days of screening in theaters. 

AMC originally refused to screen Universal films after the success of the VOD release of Trolls in April.

Now a tentpole film, like Jurassic World: Dominion, will only need to play in theaters three weekends before being made available at home. This, of course, throws out the traditional theatrical window of nearly three months. In order to get AMC on board, though, Universal will have to share some of the revenue from VOD with them.

In a joint press release, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and AMC said they reached the historic agreement based on their “shared commitment to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership that is focused on serving consumers worldwide, while preserving and enhancing the theatrical experience.”

Universal’s traditional windows for electronic sell through (EST) and video on demand (VOD) remain unchanged. The companies reached this agreement based on their shared commitment to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership that is focused on serving consumers worldwide, while preserving and enhancing the theatrical experience.

Donna Langley, Chairman, UFEG, said “The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business. 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.”

Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer of UFEG Peter Levinsohn, who led negotiations on behalf of the studio, added, “Universal’s commitment to innovation in how we deliver content to audiences is what our artists, partners and shareholders all expect of us, and we are excited about the opportunity this new structure presents to grow our business. We are grateful to AMC for their partnership and the leadership they have shown in working with us to reach this historic deal.”


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Commenting on the agreement, AMC CEO Adam Aron noted, “AMC enthusiastically embraces this new industry model both because we are participating in the entirety of the economics of the new structure, and because premium video on demand creates the added potential for increased movie studio profitability, which should in turn lead to the green-lighting of more theatrical movies.”

He adds, “This multi-year agreement preserves exclusivity for theatrical viewing for at least the first three weekends of a film’s release, during which time a considerable majority of a movie’s theatrical box office revenue typically is generated. AMC will also share in these new revenue streams that will come to the movie ecosystem from premium video on demand. So, in total, Universal and AMC each believe this will expand the market and benefit us all. 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.”

The full terms of the deal are confidential and are not being disclosed.

UFEG is working with AMC and other exhibition partners on plans to restart theatrical releases with a dynamic slate of films as diverse as the audiences who embrace them from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation, including upcoming installments in the blockbuster Fast & FuriousJurassic World and Illumination’s Despicable Me/Minions franchises, among other highly-anticipated titles.


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It remains to be seen whether other studios will follow suit, but this is a game-changer, and could signal a shift to the way movies are released moving forward.

SOURCE: AMC Theatres

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