On Tuesday 28th July AMC Theatres and Universal Studios announced an agreement to shorten the exclusive theatrical window from 90 days to 17 days for the Universal’s films. The agreement only applies to premium video-on-demand, which are typically priced at £20 per rentals on services like iTunes and Amazon. Because of this, AMC is not worried about losing customers to this new initiative as the cinema may become the cheaper alternative to viewing the latest releases.
This new initiative comes after coronavirus had greatly affected production and releases of films such as the James Bond franchise, Tenet and Mulan, all of which had to postpone their releases in response to the pandemic. While other films like The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma went straight to streaming services after coronavirus cut their theatrical run short.
Up until now, cinema chains have refused to screen films that don’t respect the theatrical window; however, film studios are now favouring delivering movies quickly into the home with the success of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, Cineworld has openly criticised the theatrical window crunch as they “do not see any business sense in this model”.
The agreement as said by Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC is “a historic, industry changing agreement” which could potentially change the way we consume film. This deal forces other studios and cinemas to follow suit which could result in the film industry having the biggest change since its inception.
The new deal covers Universal films which include The Fast and Furious franchise, Jurassic Park franchise and Despicable Me series which will be released within the next few years. So far, the deal is an “experiment” for the United States and the deal hasn’t been discussed in the foreign markets, however, with the popularity of streaming services and coronavirus forcing studios to move their films onto streaming platforms, it could completely change the face of UK and international cinema.
Read the official statement from Universal Studios here.