Now Cineworld Is Refusing To Screen Some Universal Films


by James White |
Updated on

Begun, these cinematic wars have. Following swiftly on the heels of AMC/Odeon's decision to refuse Universal films in the wake of Trolls World Tour going straight to video on demand. Now Cineworld – which also owns the Regal cinema chain, and is the second-biggest behind AMC – is also planning to refuse entries from the company's output that break the theatrical window model.

The real debate spins from the fact that Universal saw such success with the Trolls sequel while cinemas were closed, it's considering collapsing the usual window, the standard 90-period that big films are expected to play in cinemas before hitting home entertainment. Now, the studios is looking at day-and-date releases on big and small screens.

"Cineworld’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers,” the company said in a statement carried by Deadline. "We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world to watch the movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie. Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the Covid-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas."

It would seem to be a losing gamble on the cinema chains' side – do they really want to risk foregoing the likes of No Time To Die, the next Fast & Furious film or the latest Jurassic World because they're banning anything that chooses to release at home at the same time? But if more chains follow suit, that also leaves Universal in a dicey proposition, without any (or very, very few at least) screens on which to show their big releases. Expect this one to rumble on...

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