Regal Cinemas Won’t Show Films That Don’t Respect Streaming Windows

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Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld Group is vowing not to screen films that don’t respect streaming windows.

After the coronavirus pandemic forced Regal Cinemas and other theater chains to close their doors in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, most studios opted to delay the release of their respecting spring and summer 2020 films. However, Universal Pictures opted to make Trolls World Tour available on PVOD on the same day the sequel received a limited theatrical release and the film has since earned close to $100 in digital sales.

The success of Trolls World Tour prompted NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell to state that Universal will now release its films in both theatrical and premium video-on-demand formats when movie theaters reopen. In response, AMC Theatres announced it will no longer screen Universal films and now Regal Cinema’s owner Cineworld Group has weighed in on the matter, calling the studio’s decision to forgo a traditional theatrical release for Trolls World 2 “completely inappropriate.”

In a statement, the Regal Cinemas owner noted that Universal’s decision regarding the Trolls sequel “certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership, and transparency” and added that it will “not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows.” You can read the full statement from Cineworld Group below:

Cineworld’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers. We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world to watch the movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie.

Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the Covid-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas.

Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency.

Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s CEO approached Brian Roberts, the Chairman of Comcast, back in 19th of March (after Universal announced that Trolls 2 would be released in breach of the window) and told him among other things that:

“Nice words from your team are worthless if we cannot trust you as a partner.  The message that the media has portrayed is: “Hollywood breaks the window” – well, this is not true! All our partners called us in timely manner and told us that in the current situation they want to shorten window for movies that were already released as cinemas are closing, most importantly, they all reassured us that there will be no change to their window policy once the cinema business returned. Unfortunately I missed similar message in Universal’s announcement… not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window – but Universal was the only studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released”.

Cineworld’s roots go back 90 years in the industry and it was always open to showing any movie as long as the rules were kept and not changed by one sided moves. Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us.

We have full confidence in the industry’s current business model. No one should forget that the theatrical side of this industry generated an all-time record income of $42 billion last year and the movie distributors’ share of this was about $20 billion.

What do you make of this ongoing controversy between theater chains and Universal? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Source: The Wrap


Sebastian Peris

Sebastian Peris

Canadian film buff, political junkie, comic book geek, and board game enthusiast.