In the past week, four of the biggest cinema chains in the world have announced they will not be showing ANY of Universal Studios’ going forward. AMC, Odeon, Regal, and Cineworld have drawn some dangerous battle lines in what could become a full out war for content supremacy.
On the 10th of April, due to Covid-19, Universal Studios released Trolls: World Tour worldwide for the home market bypassing a cinema release. In response, AMC and Odeon announced they would not be showing any upcoming Universal film. Just a few of those films include James Bond’s next outing ‘No Time To Die’, ‘Fast and Furious 9’, the Jordan Peele produced ‘Candyman’, ‘Halloween Kills’ and the next ‘Jurassic World’.
For some clarity Odeon and Cineworld are the two biggest cinema chains in the UK, with 46.5% of all theatres belonging to the giants. The former is owned by AMC in the US whereas the latter is the parent company of Regal.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger made reference to a message he sent to Comcast chairman Brian Roberts last month when Universal announced that Trolls World Tour would be released without a cinematic window.
Mooky wrote: “Nice words from your team are worthless if we cannot trust you as a partner.”
He explained to Roberts how Cineworld’s other partners had contacted the cinema chain in a “timely manner” to explain how they wanted to shorten the window for the films that had already been released.
What this means for the future of cinema is unclear but speaking as someone who works in and loves going to the cinema it could mark the beginning of the end for countless jobs and fundamentally change the way films are made.
What do you guys think, do you think other studios will follow Universal’s lead or fight to fill their spot in some prime cinema real estate?