Universal’s Cinemark Deal Is Exhibition’s Future: Studios Set Rules, Theaters Follow

Covid-19 shifted the power dynamics between studios and theaters for good.

With AMC, Universal negotiated the option to place releases on PVOD after the third weekend of release.

Now Universal has a deal with Cinemark that adds a new wrinkle: The PVOD option extends to five weeks if the film opens to more than $50 million.Technically, this isn’t set in stone; it is one studio’s agreements with two circuits.

However, it creates a template that others will follow.

Going forward, if a title holds an exclusive theatrical window for six weeks or more, it’s at the studio’s pleasure.

Exhibitors no longer set the terms.Those two extra weeks are a Cinemark “victory,” but in 2019 only 16 films cleared that $50 million bar.

There were 13 other films that made over $100 million, but opened to less than $50 million; these included “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Knives Out,” “Hustlers,” and “1917.

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