Universal, Cinemark Strike Deal to Release Movies On-Demand Earlier-news

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Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theatres this week inked a multi-year deal to make films available earlier through premium video on demand (PVOD) platforms.

The agreement, which comes less than four months after AMC and Universal struck a similar deal, effectively speeds up the streaming process. Full terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under the new contract, any Universal Pictures and Focus Features title that opens to $50 million or more (highly unlikely during a global pandemic) will play exclusively in cinemas for at least 31 days. All other films are promised at least 17 days of theatrical exclusivity before the studio decides whether to make them available via digital rental services.

“Universal’s century-long partnership with exhibition is rooted in the theatrical experience, and we are more committed than ever for audiences to experience our movies on the big screen,” UFEG Chairperson Donna Langley said in a statement. The Cinemark team and her UFEG colleagues have “done a remarkable job,” Langley continued, adding that the studio has “the confidence to release our movies in the marketplace, keep the content pipeline moving, and provide consumers with the optionality that they are looking for.”

UFEG still has five theatrical releases slated for 2020, including titles from Universal Pictures (All My Life, News of the World), Focus Features (Half Brothers, Promising Young Woman), and DreamWorks Animation (The Croods: A New Age).

“We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window,” according to Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi. “We believe a more dynamic theatrical window, whereby movie theaters continue to provide an event-sized launching platform for films that maximize box office and bolsters the success of subsequent distribution channels, is in the shared best interests of studios, exhibitors and, more importantly, moviegoers.”

As reported by Variety, the new terms also extend to AMC; Universal will give AMC and Cinemark a cut of its US revenue (about 1 to 2 percent of the entire PVOD pot), Deadline explained.

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