Studios are throwing out their own release windows and pushing content to VOD and Digital HD much faster now the Coronavirus theater closures are biting.
This is understandable and even the head of the theater owners association has said his members understand. However this association has warned that there must be limits and that it’s patience will only go so far.
Specifically they have called out Universal Pictures’ movie Trolls World Tour.
While all the others have delayed their new films to later in the year or beyond, Universal is the only studio who has decided to move ahead with a premiere of a big movie directly to the VOD platform. The association considers this a direct to VOD premium release and they are not happy. The head of the association warns:
“Only Universal, and only on ‘Trolls,’ did one studio skip the theatrical model and go straight to the home. Universal continues to advertise to consumers that ‘Trolls’ will be released simultaneously to theaters and the home on April 10th. And they are lying to consumers.
Universal knows that theaters will still be closed on April 10, so unlike every other distributor who must simply delay their releases in that time period, but still understand that theatrical release is essential to their business model, Universal on Trolls didn’t make that decision. Exhibitors will not forget this.”
They will have to tread carefully though. As they aim to recover these theaters will need all the content they can get. Next summer Universal have a new Jurassic World, a new Fast And Furious and Sing 2.
Halloween Kills, The Croods 2 and the international rights to No Time To Die make up their autumn slate with Candyman and Boss Baby 2 in the mix.
Empty threat from the exhibitors? They will want that Bond, Jurassic and Furious take to help them dig their way out of this next year.