Following ‘Trolls World Tour’ kerfuffle, AMC won’t play Universal films

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Universal touted the streaming success of “Trolls World Tour.” AMC responded by saying it won’t play Universal films in theaters. Photo credit: Universal Pictures.

On April 10, Universal took a gamble and made “Trolls World Tour” available to purchase through video on demand. The kid-friendly sequel was supposed to play in theaters, but with COVID-19 making that impossible, Universal figured parents would pay for their kids to have a new movie to watch while stuck at home. 

NBCUniversal Jeff Shell told the Wall Street Journal that the film brought in $100 million, and those numbers “exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD (premium video on demand).”

Movie theater owners were not happy that Shell hinted he’d look to do more on-demand releases in the future. In response, AMC Theatres said they won’t play any Universal films in their theaters. 

That seems like quite a threat, but AMC isn’t playing movies at all right now. What Shell is likely looking for is the ability to experiment. Typically movie theaters demand an exclusive, three-month-long theatrical window before a film is made available to rent. 

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Kaitlin Parker