Universal Strikes Deal With Cinemark To Allow Early On-Demand Premieres
Universal Pictures has announced a new deal with Cinemark that allows new titles to move to home entertainment in a much shorter amount of time. According to Variety, the agreement will allow Universal to bring new movies to Premium VOD just 17 days after its theatrical release. This is a drastic difference from the traditional 75 to 90 days that it usually takes for a movie to arrive on home entertainment.
There is an exception, however. New releases that gross more than $50 million in opening weekend ticket sales have to remain in theaters for at least 31 days, or five weekends. However, movie theater attendance in a post-Covid-19 world isn't looking great. Even Christopher Nolan's Tenet, which was released when 65 percent of US movie theaters were open, only grossed $9.4 million on its opening weekend ($20 million if you count weekday preview screenings). Reaching that $50 million mark is going to be tricky in the coming months.
Earlier in the year, Universal struck an unexpected deal with AMC Theaters allowing the studio to bring movies to online platforms 17 days after being released in theaters. It was surprising because Universal and AMC had previously warred over the topic after Trolls World Tour became available for rental so soon after its release. But as the coronavirus continues to alter the state of the moviegoing, studios and movie theater chains are re-evaluating their options moving forward. Universal's new conditions with Cinemark will also extend to AMC.
However, just because new movies are allowed to move to VOD after three weekends doesn't mean all of them will. Blockbusters such as Jurassic World: Dominion and Fast and Furious 9 are still expected to have long theatrical runs. As the months unfold, we should get a better idea of how the new rules will play out.
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