AMC versus Universal

Earlier in the week, Universal released their earnings from Trolls: World Tour‘s VOD release and well…AMC decided to stop playing Universal Pictures entirely (as did Regal), which leaves AMC & Regal without heavy hitters such as The Forever Purge, Halloween Kills, No Time to Die (in international markets), F9Jurassic World: Dominion. That’s just in the next year, and each film will likely earn enough to please Scrooge McDuck. Something AMC desperately needs.

So, that begs the obvious question: Why would AMC Theaters pick such a bold option? Well, to tell you about why I have to take you back to last year.

In December 2018 through April 2019, I worked at AMC. Specifically, I worked the Hot Foods (hot dogs, smoothies, etc.), Admissions, Customer Service, ticket taker, and theater cleanup. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of downtime when you work at a theater. So, whenever I got bored, I would look at what we had playing every Thursday and talk with our Programming Manager about why he would program certain movies. 

Usually, his answer would be to do something I’d been doing for the past two hours. However, when I asked about Roma, he gave a different answer. He told me that anything put out by Netflix would never play at an AMC. 

Now, why do I tell you this? It’s because the reason he gave is that Netflix wasn’t respecting the theatrical window of a typical new release, where a movie would release in theaters for three months, then go to digital platforms or streaming. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same reason AMC and Regal gave when Universal released the numbers for Trolls: World Tour.

So, AMC is enforcing that same window, which is why they have ended their exhibition deal with Universal Pictures. 

For those who want to know if AMC or Regal ever exhibit Universal Pictures films, I don’t have a definitive answer for you right now. I wish I did, but unfortunately, AMC and Regal are playing hardball, and I hope that it won’t cause AMC to foreclose.