Hollywood news banter: NBCUniversal and AMC strike historic deal

Hosted by

AMC and NBCUniversal have struck a deal to shorten the theatrical release window, but many studios and theater chains are skeptical. Photo by LunchboxLarry (CC BY 2.0).

For the last several months, movie theaters and studios have been struggling to make up for lost revenue. Two of them have found a way to move forward for now: NBCUniversal and AMC have agreed to shorten the window of time that a movie shows in theaters before it’s release on demand.

Before the agreement, consumers would typically have to wait three months until they could see a new theatrical release at home. Now with a new deal between NBCUniversal and AMC, some movies would be available on demand just 17 days from the theatrical release. 

This could be a way for movie theaters to regain lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic, as many states have not yet reopened movie theaters. This smaller window would not necessarily apply to NBCUniversal’s upcoming big-budget releases, including next year’s “F9” and “Jurassic World: Dominion.”

This deal follows the success of NBCUniversal’s “Trolls: World Tour,” which was a video on demand success that has earned a reported $100 million earlier this year. Other theater chains are skeptical, saying that shortening the theatrical release window will not make business sense after the pandemic ends.

Also, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was questioned during a congressional hearing on Thursday about the ongoing negotiations between Amazon and HBO Max. Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland asked if it provided a “structural conflict of interest” for the company to control which streamers it allows on its Amazon Fire devices.

Bezos responded that he was not familiar with the specifics of the negotiations, but that using leverage against a competitor is “normal business.” Amazon Fire, like Roku, has not yet made HBO Max available on its devices.

Credits

Guest:
Matthew Belloni - Hollywood Reporter - @MattBelloni

Host:
Kim Masters

Producer:
Kevin Tidmarsh