Universal Filmed Entertainment Group is extending its new approach to theatrical windows to Cinemark theaters, as a multi-year agreement between the studio and Cinemark Holdings, Inc. has just been announced. The Cinemark deal follows in the footsteps of Universal’s deal with AMC that was announced in July.
Per an official statement on behalf of Universal and Cinemark: “The agreement includes at least three full weekends (17 days) of theatrical exclusivity for all Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases, at which time the studio will have the option to make its titles available across premium video on demand (PVOD) platforms. Under the terms of the deal, any title that opens to $50 million or more, including many franchise titles, will play exclusively in theaters for at least five full weekends (31 days) before the title may become available on PVOD.”
Sources close to Universal say the theatrical-PVOD window based on opening weekend gross extends to the studio’s deal with AMC. The announcement means all Universal blockbusters that open to $50 million or above will play in AMC and Cinemark for at least five weekends before the option becomes available to launch the blockbuster on PVOD. Three Universal titles from 2019 would qualify for a 31-day theatrical window under these new terms: “Us,” “Hobbs & Shaw,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”
“Universal’s century-long partnership with exhibition is rooted in the theatrical experience, and we are more committed than ever for audiences to experience our movies on the big screen,” said Universal chairman Donna Langley in a statement, “Mark Zoradi and the team at Cinemark have been outstanding partners, and Peter Levinsohn [Vice Chairman & Chief Distribution Officer, UFEG] has done a remarkable job on the studio’s behalf in making deals that give us the confidence to release our movies in the marketplace, keep the content pipeline moving, and provide consumers with the optionality that they are looking for.”
Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi added, “We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window. We believe a more dynamic theatrical window, whereby movie theaters continue to provide an event-sized launching platform for films that maximize box office and bolsters the success of subsequent distribution channels, is in the shared best interests of studios, exhibitors and, most importantly, moviegoers.”
A source close to Universal said the $50 million benchmark was settled upon by the studio because any movie grossing that much over its first three days would have likely been given a more exclusive theatrical run regardless of collapsed theatrical windows. Furthermore, Universal films can continue to play in theaters even when they become available on PVOD platforms.
Upcoming Universal releases for 2020 include “The Croods: A New Age” (11/25), “Half Brothers” (12/4), “All My Life” (12/4), “News of the World” (12/25), and “Promising Young Woman” (12/25).