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Universal strikes deal with AMC to narrow streaming release window

30-Jul-2020 • No Time To Die

Universal, who are distributing 'No Time To Die' outside of North America, have struck a deal with cinema chain AMC that brings their dispute about streaming to a close.

Earlier this year, when many parts of the USA had cinemas closed, Universal release 'Trolls World Tour' as a Premium Video On Demand (PVOD) 48-hour rental, breaking the age-old agreement between distributors and cinema chains that new films would be exclusively in cinemas for the first 90 days. AMC responded by threatening to not release any Universal films in their cinemas when they reopened.

The deal announced this week slashes the old 90-day window to just 17 days.

Currently, the deal covers releases in the USA, so will not affect 'No Time To Die' as it stands (MGM through United Artists retain North American distribution). However, Universal and AMC are negotiating deals for other territories over the coming weeks.

In a joint release, Universal and AMC said they reached the historic agreement based on their "shared commitment to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership that is focused on serving consumers worldwide while preserving and enhancing the theatrical experience." Insiders added that the deal provides consumers with options during uncertain times.

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business," said Donna Langley, chair of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. "The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”

Added Aron: “AMC enthusiastically embraces this new industry model both because we are participating in the entirety of the economics of the new structure, and because premium video on demand creates the added potential for increased movie studio profitability, which should, in turn, lead to the green-lighting of more theatrical movies. This multi-year agreement preserves exclusivity for theatrical viewing for at least the first three weekends of a film’s release, during which time a considerable majority of a movie’s theatrical box office revenue typically is generated."

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