Cinemark ain’t playing ball.
Last week, an armistice of sorts was signed between the theater chain AMC and the studio Universal. If you’ll recall, in months past, AMC stated they would ban all Universal films from their theaters should the studio not adhere to the previously-agreed-to three-month window. This essentially means there needed to be a certain amount of time where a movie ran in theaters before it could hit digital platforms. Per the new agreement, that window was reduced to 17 days, or three weekends.
This was a huge step in a progressive direction. As digital platforms have exploded, we’ve seen the theatrical window gets smaller and smaller. In the midst of COVID, we saw Universal release films both simultaneously and just a week or so after their theatrical release. This would be an approach that could benefit both studio and theater. I also saw it as a first move that most other studios and chains would follow suit on.
Well, it looks like we hit our first real snag from the other big theater chain, Cinemark. The news came directly from Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi on an earnings call today.
“We believe an exclusive theatrical window is critically important,” he said. “While we have publicly stated we’re willing to have conversations with our studio partners to evolve with them, we are mindful that an overly aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact on the mid-to tail-end of a film’s life.”
RELATED – AMC, Universal Reduce Theatrical Window To GROUNDBREAKING 17 Days
And I can certainly see that perspective. As much as I’m all for bringing things to streaming as soon as possible, I don’t see how theaters benefit from the 17-day window. In the long run, it’d only spoil audiences, establish a new normal, and make their service wield less power. As I discussed on this past episode of Breaking Geek Radio, it does seem like AMC is making a deal for short-term gain at the expense of its long-term survival.
Unlike AMC, Cinemark is in a slightly better spot in that regard. As such, they don’t feel the need to jump to make any rash decisions.
“We will be very careful and methodical about how we approach any change to the theatrical windows,” Zoradi continued. “We continue to carefully analyze and research this matter. And we will endeavor to ensure any modifications are in the best interests of the overall industry, our company and our shareholders.”
Zoradi went on to say that there are no real urgent conversations currently ongoing. That they were in “open and active discussions,” but nothing more. To me, I read that as them looking at options, but not ready to commit in any real way yet.
As much as I want to see more theaters hop on board with the 17-day window deal, I recognize just how much that could hurt the industry in the long run. This would be especially notable once COVID was gone.
But what do you think of Cinemark being more meditative with their strategy? Sound off down below!
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