In a world where we can no longer go to our movie theaters, buy a $15 ticket, get a large popcorn and drink that’s way over priced and enjoy a screen larger than most of our homes, we find ourselves witnessing a war, a war between a film studio and it’s partners, the theater.
Earlier this week Universal Pictures talked about the advantages of releasing their latest movie, Trolls World Tour. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, films have had to push back their films because ALL theaters had to shut down. Understandable, who would want to get corona coughed while watching the newest sequel since originality seems to be dead in Hollywood and studios have to make money somehow during these times so why not release a new title for the people to watch?
This unfortunately sparked a fire and AMC Theaters was the first to fire back at Universal’s statement by officially not showing ANY future Universal films. As a movie lover and someone who enjoys going to the theater and getting the full theater effect I feel conflicted with AMC’s statement. On one hand, I understand Universal not wanting to postpone their release of the Trolls sequel and being able to have some cash flow coming somewhere during these times especially when studios can make more money off of releasing their films on VOD. Hell any money is better than no money right now so I can’t blame them for doing what they did and I’m positive other studios are thinking the same thing. Trolls was never going to be this major blockbuster film and it would have had to go up against some titans in the process making it harder to make its money back let alone a profit.
But a contract is a contract and this is where I also feel AMC and their bold statement of not showing future Universal films makes a point. You see when a movie is released there’s a 90 day window that movies have to stay in theater before we people get to watch it from home legally. Also theaters make 50% of said movie releases which in turn is a nice chunk of change. Universal broke said contract even though movies from other studios as well that were out during the beginning of the pandemic had to be released on VODl to make some money, but apparently theaters were warned and a deal was struck making it acceptable for films like The Invisible Man, Bloodshot and Sonic the Hedgehog to come to us early.
Had Universal possibly came out and talked to the theaters explaining that due to the situation we want to release a couple films to skip the theater and be released through streaming platforms and not post about making more money than what they would have if it came to theaters then there wouldn’t be any fighting and Universal wouldn’t have to wonder, “jeez will I have to issue an apology so my movies like Fast 9 have a place to go?” Maybe. It was a bit of a slap in the face especially when AMC and other theaters can do nothing but sit and wait until this whole thing is over.
Either way this has now led to other theater companies joining the fight against Universal. I personally believe it is what it is, make money where you can, when you can and when things finally go back to normal lets keep everything in place and move on. I’m sure eventually this will be resolved and the studio and the theaters can be friends again but right now, it is on like Donkey Kong. I’ll be standing on the sidelines with my microwave popcorn watching this unfold. What say you? Are you on Universal’s side or are you on the theater’s side?