The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the movie industry in many ways and its latest change comes to pass with the new deal struck between Universal Studios and AMC theaters. The two companies have reached an agreement to shorten the exclusive theatrical window of distributed movies to only 17 days.
Traditionally, each movie distributed is initially screened exclusively in theaters for about 90 days. Only then the studio can move it to a streaming or video-on-demand service. However, as the pandemic forced theaters to close their doors, Universal has released the animated Trolls World Tour straight to VOD. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the company will release its movies in both formats simultaneously even after the reopening of the theaters.
This created a rift between Universal and AMC. The theater company even said it will not play any of Universal’s movies in its theaters. However, as AMC was hit hard financially by the pandemic and as Universal rosters include heavyweights as Fast & Furious 9, Jurassic Park, and Despicable Me, the parties were bound to make amends.
The new deal will give Universal the option to move its films to premium VOD services only, including AMC’s own service. This often means digital rentals of 20 dollars and not standard VOD services.