Odeon Cinemas Owner Bans Universal Films Over Trolls Home Release

Trolls World Tour

by James White |
Published on

With cinemas closed during the current pandemic, studios have been forced to migrate a lot of their movies to home streaming, or face delaying their release for months. But Universal's straight-to-home-entertainment release for Trolls World Tour has sparked an almighty (if civil for now) row with cinema chain giant AMC in the States, which owns Odeon over here. The latest broadside in tis battle? AMC has decided to ban all Universal films.

In truth, the dispute stems from Universal looking to release other films this way, a big break in the traditional model, where cinemas could expect several months of a release window before a big film heads to streaming or physical media. But the impact of Covid-19 has seen that change, and cinema owners are not happy. In a letter to Universal film boss Donna Langley, AMC's Adam Aron accused the studio of looking to "have its cake and eat it too".

Part of his letter states, "AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies.

"Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally on these terms."

Jeff Shell, president and chief executive of NBCUniversal, parent company of the film studio, told the Wall Street Journal the film had "exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability" of streaming. "As soon as theatres reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats," he said. And while other studios have moved a few films to streaming – Warners has Scoob! headed straight there, it's mostly Universal that has drawn fire for looking to change the status quo for movies. Which would mean a lot of lost revenue for cinemas, between fees from the studios and concessions like popcorn and drinks.

And yes, we're now awaiting the first joker online to say, "I'd ban all films over Trolls".

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