First AMC Theatres. Now Regal Cinemas.
Good ol’ Hollywood just keeps on churning out the goods. No, I don’t mean the movies. I mean the real-time entertainment in the form of chastising statements and power plays.
In case you’re late to the game, Universal released Trolls World Tour on VOD. It was originally set to hit theaters, but in the midst of the pandemic, they opted for a home release instead of a delay. Furthermore, they had the gall to actually have a successful launch. Universal then expressed their desire to release films both in theaters and on VOD. This led to a statement from AMC Theatres, wherein they stated they would no longer be showing Universal movies.
That’s right. Wanna see F9: The Fast Saga or Jurassic World: Dominion? You’ll have to go somewhere else. Perhaps Cinemark or Regal Cinemas. The National Association of Theatre Owners also backed up AMC Theatres, chastising Universal for their move. It also probably didn’t help that Universal basically stated they would be open to similar releases down the line for specific films. The last thing you’d want to hear as a theater owner is that a major studio is considering circumventing them in the distribution process. When you make your money off of getting butts and seats to eat food, any decline is terrible.
Now, another theater owner has thrown their own comments into the discussion.
Cineworld Group, the owners of the Regal Entertainment theater chain, has backed up AMC Theatres. For starters, they made it clear that if Universal had any films that didn’t follow their guidelines, they would not be shown in theaters.
“Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the Covid-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas,” the statement from Cineworld read. “Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership, and transparency.”
They then went on to say that they wouldn’t show any films that didn’t respect their windows.
“Cineworld’s roots go back 90 years in the industry and it was always open to showing any movie as long as the rules were kept and not changed by one-sided moves. Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us.”
Their threats were a step back from what AMC said. While AMC basically said they wouldn’t show any Universal films, Cineworld only said they wouldn’t show films that didn’t fall into their windows.
In essence, Cineworld’s complaints were twofold. First, that they broke their window agreement with Trolls World Tour. Second, that they did so without consulting their distribution partners. The statement reiterated what Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts.
“Nice words from your team are worthless if we cannot trust you as a partner. The message that the media has portrayed is: “Hollywood breaks the window” – well, this is not true! All our partners called us in timely manner and told us that in the current situation they want to shorten window for movies that were already released as cinemas are closing, most importantly, they all reassured us that there will be no change to their window policy once the cinema business returned. Unfortunately, I missed similar message in Universal’s announcement… not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window – but Universal was the only studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released.”
This is obvious wagging of the finger at Universal, but it’s not nearly as intense as what AMC did. They made Universal know they didn’t approve, but they didn’t cut off their own nose in the process. While they were harsh with their language, they didn’t eliminate the possibility of working with Universal in the future or burn any bridges.
Take note, AMC. This is how you do it.
How do you feel about Regal Cinemas speaking out on AMC’s behalf? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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