Remember Universal Pictures’ proposed plan to make its new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller action-comedy Tower Heist available in homes just three weeks after it debuts in theaters?
Well, it’s not happening, but not for the reason you may think. No, it wasn’t outraged, cash-strapped fans who refused to pay $60 a pop for PVOD, but exhibitors, who refused to have PVOD cut into their business.
Facing a potential boycott from theater owners, Universal caved:
“Universal Pictures today announced that in response to a request from theater owners, it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment in which Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta would have had the opportunity to rent Tower Heist on demand just three weeks after its theatrical release on November 4, 2011.”
In response, National Association of Theater Owners president & CEO John Fithian also released a statement:
“NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated.”
Interestingly enough, the NATO statement uses the word “cancel” while Universal only mentions a “delay.” Universal also expressed optimism that PVOD will still happen:
“Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future.”
Apparently, this battle isn’t over.