Universal & AMC Feud Over With New Deal

A multi-year agreement has been reached between Universal and AMC that will see titles from Universal Pictures and Focus Features exhibited in AMC Theatres in the United States.

The agreement, hatched between Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., includes at least three weekends (17 days) of theatrical exclusivity for all Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases. A period during which time a majority of a movie’s theatrical box office revenue typically is generated.

After that time, the studio will have the option to make its titles available across premium video on demand (PVOD) platforms including through AMC Theatres On Demand. Traditional windows for electronic sell through (EST) and video on demand (VOD) remain unchanged.

In coming weeks, the two companies will also begin discussions of international distribution agreements in the countries in Europe and the Middle East served by AMC.

The agreement marks an end to a months-long feud over theatrical windows and release strategies that began with Universal putting “Trolls World Tour” and other titles directly onto PVOD, bypassing then closing cinemas. Quotes from parties on both sides and from exhibition chiefs at NATO were akin to the fighting between Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner’s bickering divorcees in “The War of the Roses” at times.

In a release, the companies say they share a commitment to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership focused on serving consumers worldwide while preserving and enhancing the theatrical experience.

No word on if other exhibitors will follow suit. As stated, 17 days will be the minimum which means titles likely to have longer theatrical lives like next year’s “F9: The Fast Saga” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” will likely go past that period before heading to PVOD.

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