AMC Theatres, the world’s largest cinema chain and the owners of Odeon Cinemas in the UK, has announced that it will no longer show Universal Pictures films in an argument over theatrical releases.
Because all cinemas have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, some studios have been releasing films that otherwise would have seen a theatrical release online and on-demand.
After NBCUniversal’s boss Jeff Shell remarked on the success of the video on-demand release of Trolls World Tour earlier this month, during which it earned $100m (£80m), he added that the company might choose to release films simultaneously on video on-demand as well as in theatres.
This prompted a response from Adam Aron, the boss of cinema chain AMC, who said that the company wanted to ‘have its cake and eat it too’, and added that his theatres will no longer show Universal Pictures films when the theatres re-open.
Universal is known for popular franchises such as Fast & Furious and Jurassic World, amongst many others.
Aron wrote a letter to Universal Studios chairwoman Donna Langley in which he said: “It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice.
“Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.”
The letter continued: “We want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind.