In a stunning move on Tuesday night, AMC Theatres announced that they would be banning all Universal Pictures movies from their cinemas over protest against the studio’s decision to release some of their future films in theaters and VOD simultaneously.
So, this means you won’t be able to see Fast & Furious 9 or Jurassic World 3 on the big screen at AMC. It’s quite the move from AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron and is especially curious considering the company’s continued struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were forced to furlough all 600 of their corporate staff and have been on the brink of filing for bankruptcy for months now. As such, you’d think they would jump at the chance to re-open and screen as many movies from as many studios as possible.
Not to mention that Universal is arguably the second-biggest studio behind Disney. Besides Fast & Furious and Jurassic World, they have a couple of massive animated properties in Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. Not to mention well-known IP like Jason Bourne and Pitch Perfect as well as a fruitful relationship so far with Jordan Peele.
Understandably, fans took to social media to offer up their thoughts and opinions on the news, with many siding with Universal on this one, as evidenced below:
Universal Pictures took a victory lap over “Trolls World Tour” on Tuesday morning, saying that the film’s successful video-on-demand release had proved a new business model. AMC Theaters took the studio’s assertion as a declaration of war. https://t.co/wuITUUpYcG
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 29, 2020
This has been a long time coming for Universal and AMC. They’ve been beefing for years. ?
— Joe Tomlin (@JoukTomlin) April 29, 2020
Unless this was Universal's decision and they're just throwing AMC under the bus to make them look bad. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. That's less movies and money for AMC and all it really does is make them come off as petty. https://t.co/hqJDgBljmF
— Ultimate N (@NRiv27) April 29, 2020
Watching AMC (cinemas) and Universal pic.twitter.com/FROFPCd3hA
— Maurice (@followmaurice) April 29, 2020
As a movie fan, as a fan of going to the theater, as a fan of AMC, and as a fan of Universal, I sincerely hope Universal decides to reverse its decision. PVOD releases are not and will not ever be comparable to a theater experience https://t.co/281O5gGnFt
— Tyler Langford (@tylerlangford09) April 29, 2020
AMC will totally back down their words as they are ready to file bankruptcy as is. they need Universal more than Uni needs them.
— peggyatthemovies (@pegsatthemovies) April 29, 2020
It is going to phase Universal because AMC ain’t gonna be the only one not playing nice. VOD is not a replacement for box office success. Fast & Furious 9 wont make nearly as much money if it went strictly VOD
— i’m not a smart man (@Dams_27) April 29, 2020
"AMC is willing to sit down with Universal to discuss different windows strategies and different economic models between your company and ours."
Such discussions didn't work so well with Netflix to screen The Irishman. I'm not sure that AMC has a strong bargaining position.
— Simon (Sean) McKorcandale (@computersblow) April 29, 2020
This is just cutting off your nose to spite your face; Universal might hurt for a few months, but ultimately AMC if just forcing them to innovate and develop new models of distribution. Pyrrhic victory comes to mind https://t.co/fqe5eHlBg6
— Brandon (@casadehub) April 29, 2020
Neither Universal nor AMC want to skip out on the profits of having the next Fast and Furious or low budget horror movie hit theaters.
They'll work it out… in the mean time, maybe "Minions 2" goes straight to on demand and we don't get to see that one on the silver screen.
— chad (@Chadaoliver) April 29, 2020
They will lose tons of money. You realize that Universal is releasing some big films in the future? Candyman, Halloween Kills, No Time To Die, F9, Jurassic World Dominion, and Minions The Rise of Gru. Regal and AMC will regret this decision. https://t.co/GCVA9ZY4EI
— Michael M. (@Michael50844989) April 29, 2020
who? AMC for cutting bait on bad margins and downsizing or Universal for recognizing a way to essentially treat a Spotify Drake album like a blockbuster movie
— smoov (@smoov22_sonic) April 29, 2020
Universal's being shady and want to premiere their movies in cinemas/home at the same time, which violates agreements with cinema chains, so AMC (and now Regal) are committed to not screening Universal films until they correct this choice. No other studio is proposing this.
— Alex Marco (@TheAlexMarco) April 29, 2020
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For AMC to make such a drastic decision has to mean their relationship with Universal in regards to the theatrical-to-home window was a point of contention. There’s just no other explanation as to why they would do this at this point in time.
When theaters will open up again remains to be seen. It could still be months away. And in that time period, perhaps cooler heads will prevail and AMC and Universal will fix the issue? Both parties have a lot to lose if an agreement isn’t reached, after all.