During the global pandemic that led to lockdowns in may areas, the movie industry had to shift how it does business. Theaters closed, leaving nowhere for blockbusters to go. And then, Universal, Disney, and others found a quick solution—go straight to your home. Now Universal Studios and AMC are entering an agreement to keep that trend alive—somewhat.
During the pandemic, we’ve seen a few movies skip theaters entirely and go straight to digital, like Onward from Disney and Trolls World Tour from Universal Studios. This latest agreement won’t allow for that, but it will shorten the window between theater exclusivity and digital home rental.
Universal Studio and AMC agreed to a 17-day exclusivity window (or three weekends). Until now, that window has typically been closer to 90 days. After that, Universal Studios can offer the movie for digital rental, likely in the $20 area, as we saw with previous home releases.
While the agreement allows Universal to offer early release for any of its films, that doesn’t mean it will follow through on every movie. If a film performs particularly well in theaters, it may keep it there and push off the digital release.
And of course, this agreement only covers AMC and Universal Studios. Other film production companies like Disney and Sony will need to work out similar deals. And other theater companies like Regal also fight for theater-only windows. But this may be a start to a new era of movie watching.
Source: AMC and Universal