Entertainment

Universal Pictures signs historic new deal with Cinemark Pictures allowing movies to move to VOD

Nearly three months after Universal Pictures struck a surprising deal with AMC Theatres to shrink the theatrical window of its movies, the studio has struck a similar deal with another major theater chain, Cinemark Theaters.

Much like the AMC deal, the Cinemark agreement allows Universal to debut their films on digital/VOD 17 days after its debut.

However, there is a new stipulation in the Cinemark deal, with any film that opens with more than a $50 million opening weekend, must stay in theaters for at least 31 days, or five weekends, according to Variety.

Big deal: Nearly three months after Universal Pictures struck a surprising deal with AMC Theatres to shrink the theatrical window of its movies, the studio has struck a similar deal with another major theater chain, Cinemark Theaters

Any movie that opens to less than $50 million will be allowed to move to digital/VOD for studios to recoup losses for underperforming movies.

The studio is still expected to seek longer theatrical runs for high-profile tentpole releases such as the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion and F9.

There were only two movies that grossed more than $50 million in its opening weekend this year (Bad Boys For Life, Sonic the Hedgehog) before theaters shut down due to COVID-19.

Box office: There were only two movies that grossed more than $50 million in its opening weekend this year (Bad Boys For Life, Sonic the Hedgehog) before theaters shut down due to COVID-19

Box office: There were only two movies that grossed more than $50 million in its opening weekend this year (Bad Boys For Life, Sonic the Hedgehog) before theaters shut down due to COVID-19

Traditionally, studios and theater chains have maintained a theatrical window for films to play in theaters of between 75 and 90 days before it moves to digital and home video.

When theaters started to shutter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that lead to Universal’s groundbreaking deal with AMC Theatres.

Universal will extend the new terms set forth in the Cinemark deal to AMC as well, with the studio agreeing to share the digital profits with the theater chains, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Theatrical: Traditionally, studios and theater chains have maintained a theatrical window for films to play in theaters of between 75 and 90 days before it moves to digital and home video

Theatrical: Traditionally, studios and theater chains have maintained a theatrical window for films to play in theaters of between 75 and 90 days before it moves to digital and home video

Neither of the deals state that the studio will definitively put all of its movies on VOD, and, conversely, theaters will still be able to play movies that move to VOD for as long as they choose to do so. 

‘Universal’s century-long partnership with exhibition is rooted in the theatrical experience, and we are more committed than ever for audiences to experience our movies on the big screen,’ said Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley.

‘Mark Zoradi and the team at Cinemark have been outstanding partners, and Peter Levinsohn [Vice Chairman & Chief Distribution Officer, UFEG] has done a remarkable job on the studio’s behalf in making deals that give us the confidence to release our movies in the marketplace, keep the content pipeline moving, and provide consumers with the optionality that they are looking for,’ she added.

Big movies: Neither of the deals state that the studio will definitively put all of its movies on VOD, and, conversely, theaters will still be able to play movies that move to VOD for as long as they choose to do so

Big movies: Neither of the deals state that the studio will definitively put all of its movies on VOD, and, conversely, theaters will still be able to play movies that move to VOD for as long as they choose to do so

‘We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window,” Zoradi said. 

‘We believe a more dynamic theatrical window, whereby movie theaters continue to provide an event-sized launching platform for films that maximize box office and bolsters the success of subsequent distribution channels, is in the shared best interests of studios, exhibitors and, most importantly, moviegoers,’ he added.

While most studios haven’t been releasing many movies amid the pandemic, Universal has still been releasing films regularly through its deal with AMC and now Cinemark.

Future: 'We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window,¿ Zoradi said

Future: ‘We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window,” Zoradi said

The studio just released Freaky in theaters, which topped the box office with $3.6 million from 2,472 theaters for a $1,456 per-screen average.

Next up will be the animated sequel The Croods: A New Age over the Thanksgiving holiday on November 25 and Half Brothers on December 5.

Universal will close out the year with two films opening on Christmas Day, News of the World starring Tom Hanks and Promising Young Woman starring Carey Mulligan.

Freaky: The studio just released Freaky in theaters, which topped the box office with $3.6 million from 2,472 theaters for a $1,456 per-screen average

Freaky: The studio just released Freaky in theaters, which topped the box office with $3.6 million from 2,472 theaters for a $1,456 per-screen average


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