Movie theater owners have slammed Universal for the video-on-demand release of Trolls World Tour and future Universal projects.
These comments come in the wake of Universal reporting that Trolls World Tour had grossed nearly $100 million after just three weeks of video-on-demand release. As part of that reporting, the head of Universal parent company NBCUniversal revealed that the division had plans to release future theatrical movies on premium video-on-demand, even when movie theaters re-open. This news has not sat well with owners of movie theater chains such as AMC, nor with the members of the National Association of Movie Theater Owners (NATO).
NATO even released a statement declaring its opposition to Universal’s new tactic for releasing movies. In part, the statement read “Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases.” The statement continued, “Theaters provide a beloved immersive, shared experience that cannot be replicated,” concluding, “We are confident that when theaters reopen, studios will continue to benefit from the global theatrical box office, followed by traditional home release.”
While movie theater owners are not pleased with Universal’s decision, Universal continues to explore VOD. It has already announced that The King of Staten Island, previously set for a June 2020 theatrical release, will debut on premium-video-on-demand on June 12. The success of Trolls World Tour appears to have convinced other studios to release their theatrical titles on PVOD instead. For example, Warner Bros. will now debut Scoob! on PVOD on May 15 rather than wait for movie theaters to re-open.
These maneuvers come about in a time when theatrical moviegoing is an incredibly vulnerable place. Movie theaters across the world been closed for nearly two months and theater chains such as AMC are potentially facing bankruptcy.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)
Universal continues to receive criticism from theater owners for its decision to release Trolls World Tour on premium VOD.