Cineworld joins AMC in refusing to play Universal films over Trolls World Tour row

Cineworld joins AMC in refusing to play Universal films over Trolls World Tour row

Cineworld joins AMC in refusing to play Universal films over Trolls World Tour row

Cineworld joins AMC in refusing to play Universal films over Trolls World Tour row

Cineworld joins AMC in refusing to play Universal films over Trolls World Tour row 1

Cineworld has joined AMC in deciding to reject new films made by Universal in light of comments made by the distributor’s CEO following the home release of Trolls World Tour.

With coronavirus bringing the film industry to a halt, Universal moved the Trolls sequel to video on demand on 10 April, making an estimated $100m in North America in the three weeks since.

Addressing the future of film release, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (28 April) that even after cinemas reopened, the company would keep releasing films in both formats.


AMC Theatres chair-CEO Adam Aron wrote a letter to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley branding Shell’s words “unacceptable”, and now Cineworld – the world’s second largest cinema chain – has said it will follow suit.



A studio representative told Deadline: “Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency.”

The statement continued: “Cineworld’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers. We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world to watch the movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie.

“Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the Covid-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas.”

“Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us. We have full confidence in the industry’s current business model. No one should forget that the theatrical side of this industry generated an all-time record income of $42b last year and the movie distributors’ share of this was about $20b.”

Universal is the studio that distributes the Fast and Furious, Jurassic World and Halloween franchises. Cineworld’s decision means it will not be showing any future films from these series if they’re also released at home.


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