Universal has just struck a historic new deal with Cinemark Theaters. COVID-19 has put all theater chains and film distributors in a tough position. But Universal has been working towards finding a solution. The studio began releasing its bigger movies early on VOD services in March. This led to other movies, such as Trolls World Tour, releasing on VOD services and in theaters simultaneously. AMC, one of the largest theater chains, certainly had problems with this. But the two companies eventually signed a multi-year agreement that will benefit both sides.
Now, Universal has made a deal with one of the other largest theater chains in the world. Cinemark initially spoke out against Universal and AMC’s deal. But with only a few new releases and low attendance, it was forced to temporarily close all of its Regal theaters in the US. Universal and Cinemark announced on Monday their deal for when it comes to Premium VOD.
Universal and Cinemark’s New Deal
Universal’s movies will play in Cinemark’s theaters for a guaranteed 3 weekends or 17 days. Any movie that makes less than $50 million in that window then has Cinemark’s blessing to appear on PVOD services. If it makes more, it stays exclusively in theaters for 5 weekends or 31 days. This deal covers all of the studio’s releases, including those of subsidiaries like DreamWorks Animation. However, this deal is for PVOD only and doesn’t include on-demand or regular streaming services. Exact terms, such as if Cinemark earns anything from PVOD revenue, were not disclosed. Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said in a statement:
“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, most importantly, moviegoers.”
Universal and its subsidiaries still have 5 movies left to release in 2020. The Croods: A New Age releases on November 25th. Half Brothers and All My Life release on December 4th. And News of the World and Promising Young Woman release on Christmas Day.