Universal Pictures has struck another deal with a major movie theater chain to shorten the theatrical window from three months to just 17 days in an effort to accommodate new business realities in cinema.
Universal and Cinemark, which operates Tinseltown in Summit Township, announced a multi-year agreement this week that guarantees three full weekends, or 17 days, of theatrical exclusivity for Universal and Focus Feature titles before a movie can. be rented on demand. Movies open for $ 50 million or more, however, will stay in theaters exclusively for at least five full weekends, or 31 days.
The Hollywood studio behind the ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Jurassic World’ franchises is the only major player to have made this kind of deal with major exhibitors, who have so far clung to the standard 90-day theatrical showcase. , but it probably isn’t. the last.
Earlier this summer, Universal struck a similar deal with the nation’s largest chain, AMC Theaters.
“Universal’s century-old partnership with the exhibition is rooted in the theatrical experience, and we are more than ever committed to bringing our films to the big screen for audiences to experience,” said Donna Langley, President of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, in a statement.
While specific terms were not disclosed for either, there is an element of profit sharing in premium video on demand rentals between the studio and exhibitors.
“We’ve been talking to several studios about creating a version of dynamic windowing for some time, even going back before COVID,” said Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark. “With COVID and the reduced amount of content, it made sense to accelerate this.”
Zoradi said Universal was forward thinking in making this “mutually beneficial deal” and would not be surprised if more studios followed suit.
The flexibility to ensure that blockbusters would have a longer exclusive run in theaters was essential for the company. Each film will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to know when it will be available on demand. Once they are, most will continue to perform in theaters simultaneously.
Universal and Focus still have a number of films on the release schedule for the rest of the year, including the animated “The Croods: A New Age”, released Wednesday, as well as the Tom Hanks film “News of the World “and” Promising Young Woman, “both released over Christmas.
Cinemark, which operates brands such as Century, Tinseltown and Rave, operates some 332 theaters in the United States and 202 worldwide. About 90% of its US theaters are currently open in accordance with local regulations.