AMC theaters blinks in showdown against Universal Pictures on demand


This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

AMC and Universal Pictures seemingly came to a mutual deal today regarding the future relationship between movie theaters and video on demand. The two companies have been embroiled in a battle of economic futures since the outbreak of Covid-19 forced the closure of almost all movie theaters across the nation and Universal decided to take their movies directly into viewer’s homes. A move that caused AMC to quickly retaliate and say that they would no longer play any Universal movies in their venues.

Now, two months later, it seems that cooler heads have prevailed. The deal which has no financial terms disclosed has some interesting stipulations for the distribution and theater megacompanies. The breakdown of the known details is as follows:

  • Universal can release their movies for premium on-demand viewing 17 days after their release in theaters. The approximate price for these viewings will be ~20 bucks.
  • AMC will take a cut of the premium on-demand revenue
  • Cheaper rentals will not be allowed until three months after the initial theater release

More details will surely come out as (and if) theaters start to open back up again over the next year.

It’s been interesting watching the power that AMC once had as the sole entry point for new movies slowly crumble as their capital and influence have waned in a post-Covid-19 world. At the beginning of this, AMC was throwing around their weight as the largest theater chain in the country, now they are struggling to see the shore and trying not to burn their own foundations. It’s undeniable that video on demand is the future of movies and that slowly theaters may become a thing of the past, but for now, there is an shaky truce between the old and the new.

Source: Variety


Anthony Marzano
Anthony Marzano likes long talks in naturally-lit diners and science fiction movies about what it means to be human.