In a stunning move Tuesday night, AMC Theatres announced that they would be banning all Universal Pictures movies from their theaters over protest against Universal’s decision to release some of their future films in theaters and VOD simultaneously.
So whenever AMC is able to open its doors again, at least for now, you won’t be able to see Fast & Furious 9 or Jurassic World 3 on the big screen. It’s quite the move from AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron. It’s especially curious considering AMC’s continued struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company was forced to furlough all 600 of its corporate staff and have been on the brink of filing for bankruptcy. You would think they would jump at the chance to re-open and screen as many movies from as many studios as possible.
Universal is arguably the second-biggest movie studio behind Disney. Besides Fast & Furious and Jurassic World, they have a couple of massive animated properties in Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. Not to mention well-known IP like Jason Bourne and Pitch Perfect as well as a fruitful relationship so far with Jordan Peele.
It’s quite the news during a down period for the industry. Fans took to social media to offer up their thoughts and opinions with many siding with Universal on this one.
Universal Pictures took a victory lap over “Trolls World Tour” on Tuesday morning, saying that the film’s successful video-on-demand release had proved a new business model. AMC Theaters took the studio’s assertion as a declaration of war. https://t.co/wuITUUpYcG
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 29, 2020
This has been a long time coming for Universal and AMC. They’ve been beefing for years. 🤐
— Joe Tomlin (@JoukTomlin) April 29, 2020
Unless this was Universal’s decision and they’re just throwing AMC under the bus to make them look bad. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. That’s less movies and money for AMC and all it really does is make them come off as petty. https://t.co/hqJDgBljmF
— Ultimate N (@NRiv27) April 29, 2020
Watching AMC (cinemas) and Universal pic.twitter.com/FROFPCd3hA
— Maurice (@followmaurice) April 29, 2020
As a movie fan, as a fan of going to the theater, as a fan of AMC, and as a fan of Universal, I sincerely hope Universal decides to reverse its decision. PVOD releases are not and will not ever be comparable to a theater experience https://t.co/281O5gGnFt
— Tyler Langford (@tylerlangford09) April 29, 2020
AMC will totally back down their words as they are ready to file bankruptcy as is. they need Universal more than Uni needs them.
— peggyatthemovies (@pegsatthemovies) April 29, 2020
It is going to phase Universal because AMC ain’t gonna be the only one not playing nice. VOD is not a replacement for box office success. Fast & Furious 9 wont make nearly as much money if it went strictly VOD
— i’m not a smart man (@Dams_27) April 29, 2020
“AMC is willing to sit down with Universal to discuss different windows strategies and different economic models between your company and ours.”
Such discussions didn’t work so well with Netflix to screen The Irishman. I’m not sure that AMC has a strong bargaining position.
— Simon (Sean) McKorcandale (@computersblow) April 29, 2020
For AMC to make such a drastic decision has to mean their relationship with Universal in regards to the theatrical-to-home window was a point of contention. There’s no other explanation as to why they would do this at this point in time.
When theaters open up again remains to be seen. It could still be months away. In that time period, perhaps cooler heads will prevail and both AMC and Universal can fix this issue. Both parties have a lot to lose if an agreement isn’t reached. In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted with any updates.