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Cinemas & Studios Clash On At-Home Releases Following COVID-19

US-based AMC Theatres has announced that it will not license any Universal films at the company’s 1,000 cinemas worldwide in response to Universal Studio’s move towards premium video on demand (PVOD).

As cinemas across the globe have been impacted COVID-19, Universal released ‘Trolls World Tour’ at limited theatres in the US as well as in a direct-to-home format on the 10th of April.

Following the success of this approach, the CEO of NBCUniversal Jeff Shell told the Washington Post: “The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD. As soon as theatres reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

In response to this news, US-based theatre chain AMC Theatres has banned Universal films.

In an open letter to Universal Studios, the CEO and President of AMC Entertainment Adam Aron said: “It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us.”

Aron’s open letter also revealed that Universal Studio’s did not offer to adjust the economic arrangement between cinemas and studios in light of this new release model.

AMC Theatres are primarily in the US, though they also have cinemas in Europe and the Middle East. It is yet to be seen whether Australian cinema chains will follow suit, given that they will also be impacted by Universal’s new model once COVID-19 restrictions have lifted. Palace Cinemas, Hoyts and Event Cinemas have all been contacted for comment.

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