Following Trolls World Tour kerfuffle, AMC wont play Universal films

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I'm Kim Masters and this is the Hollywood breakdown joining me as map. Felony and Matt about three weeks ago. Universal put trolls world tour available on demand in the midst of this pandemic and this past week. Universal has been very celebratory about that that effort to do this and said that generated one hundred million dollars in premium video-on-demand P. B. O. D. And many people sort of took this to mean that. I think correctly universal likes this Jeff. Shell the head of NBC. Universal said this release demonstrated the viability of this approach to releasing films but the theater chains of the world the big ones like AMC. We're not happy because to them. This is an attack on their windows that the movie trolls would have a nice long theatrical run and make a lot of box office which they would split with the studios but nonetheless this is how they survive obviously and they're very challenge right now they immediately said we're not gonNA play any of your movies now that can't be a real threat but it shows the level of intensity around the decision that universal made. Yeah let's unpack this because there's a lot going on here yes. The theater chains were upset. Amc said No. We will not play any universal movie. Cinema world others have made kind of lesser statements. But in the same vein of this model will not stand so to speak. But it's this is such a unique situation that I really think that what Jeff Schell was doing was the opening salvo in a negotiation. This is a guy who came up through the comcast cable system. He has long been known to want to shorten the theatrical window. The window between when movies are in theaters and when they go to premium video On demand all the others and this is his opening shot he knows. This pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval. It allowed them to put this movie on demand and he wants to experiment more and he wants the theaters to come along and he knows that this is not going to end where they have placed their markers in the sand. It's going to me in negotiation and what he wants is a shortening of that window. Maybe cut the theaters in a little bit on some of that. Vod revenue. There's going to be a compromise in his view that will allow these studios to change the wind. Doing and all of this bluster is just a preamble to that negotiation in my opinion well and I think the picture that's painted here as you say. This is a unique situation in. They had this movie is quite expensive. You don't see them putting a however the next fast and furious movie or any of their really big budget movies are trying to put them on demand like this because the economics don't work. Universal may be more or less hostile to the theatrical window or some people think they really want to wipe out theaters. Which is crazy and would destroy the business as we know it. But you right now. They need that box office if they can get it back someday. When we're not in this. They had spent a lot of money on this movie. The other movies that you're seeing moved are tend to be less expensive. This one probably about ninety one hundred million they had spent thirty million or so just domestically to market in the United States so they have expenses associated with it that suggests that even though they have generated all this revenue they are not necessarily going to be rolling in money at all from this and probably will lose but he is making it sound successful because as you say he wants what he wants and that is his endgame to shorten the window so that they can get to these other. You know when you have a movie. That's played in theaters for a while. And you have to let them sit there and sit there and sit there after the big adspend and the display in theaters. You Wanna be able to get to the other stuff that you're selling these after theatrical windows on demand windows and the DVD's sales that's what they want to get to sooner while it's more fresh in people's minds so that would be the end game. And otherwise I think any other studio the idea of Doing this kind of thing with the none of them have done it with a big movie. Right and universal is not the only studio experimenting. And you see Warner Brothers. Do this with the Scooby Doo movie. You've seen some other announcements of direct to premium video on demand. And they like this because they get a way to salvage these movies at a time when there is no movie theaters and they get a larger percentage of the revenue than they would get if they had to split it fifty fifty with a theater. Yes but at the same time. They spent a great deal on this movie. It's very unclear what happened if it weren't a sequel. If it weren't something that they've spent all that money to advertise it's also unclear. How much money they will ring out of other revenue streams that normally. Follow if this is you know the way they're going to go forward like normally they get the anticipate certain amount of money if it ran in theaters in this case is is that reduced because they ran it on demand like this. All of this remains to be seen a matinee will be watching. Thank you matt thank you. That's Matt Bellamy Former editorial director of the Hollywood reporter. He joins me this Monday at one. Thirty on the

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