AMC #Cancels Universal Studios Films over Trolls World Tour Flap - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 04:29 AM - Thread Starter
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AMC #Cancels Universal Studios Films over Trolls World Tour Flap

Even though it is financially struggling, and it’s theaters remain shuttered with an uncertain future, and TV sales are WAY up, Chinese-owned AMC says that when it reopens, it plans to shun Universal Studios movies.

Why such hard feelings? Apparently it is the success of Trolls World Tour video on demand that has led to this acrimony.

Key quote "As it turned out, Universal made more revenue from Trolls World Tour after three weeks in digital release than they did from five months of the original Trolls in theaters." - IGN

Trolls World Tour made a hundred million bucks in VOD rentals so far, which is enough to open studio's eyes. What may have triggered AMC is the following quote from Universal: "As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats."

Check out this article from IGN for more info: AMC Theaters Refuses to Play Universal Movies Once Theaters Reopen

And here's an article from CNN on the topic: AMC bans Universal films from its theaters over 'Trolls World Tour' spat
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post #2 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 04:43 AM
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AMC Theaters has really learned how to shoot itself in the foot in a big way
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post #3 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 04:51 AM
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I'm sure that will just encourage Universal to direct release more movies and bypass the theaters. This doesn't seem like a good business move for AMC to me.

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post #4 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sure that will just encourage Universal to direct release more movies and bypass the theaters. This doesn't seem like a good business move for AMC to me.
I have to strongly agree there, it's not like Universal doesn't have a distribution channel given that it is owned by Comcast, which aside from its cable business owns Fandango, and Fandango just bought Vudu.

Shots fired.
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post #5 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:11 AM
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What Universal has discovered will be picked up by other studios. The studios are all about making money and if shooting the middle man (the theaters) makes them more money, theaters will be gone. The studios are already up against Apple, Netflix and Amazon so they may as well join the fray.

The times, they are a changing !!!
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post #6 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
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What Universal has discovered will be picked up by other studios. The studios are all about making money and if shooting the middle man (the theaters) makes them more money, theaters will be gone. The studios are already up against Apple, Netflix and Amazon so they may as well join the fray.

The times, they are a changing !!!
Suddenly it's clear exactly why we haven't seen this before. It's because the movie theaters effectively blackmailed the studios, if you do it once, you're completely cut out of theatrical distribution. I get it "it's business."

But having the exact same attitude when all your theaters are closed, and with uncertain prospects for how many tickets you can sell even when they do reopen, and consumers can pick up an 82" Samsung at Walmart for under 2 grand (i.e. a BIG TV is much less expensive than ever)??? I do not see how AMC has any leverage whatsoever anymore.
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post #7 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:25 AM
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We rented Trolls: World Tour and really enjoyed it. I do prefer the higher quality of disks for movies, but I thought the quality was pretty good. My theater, though modest, is probably pretty close to being as good as our local AMC anyways, and at $20 for our family of four, it was half the price of going to see it in a theater and even more so if you add in drinks and popcorn. Most people though don't have a Home Theater and watching a movie on a 60" TV in a typical living room isn't near the experience, so I think in one form or another movie theaters will survive - but not if the piss off the studios.
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post #8 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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We rented Trolls: World Tour and really enjoyed it. I do prefer the higher quality of disks for movies, but I thought the quality was pretty good. My theater, though modest, is probably pretty close to being as good as our local AMC anyways, and at $20 for our family of four, it was half the price of going to see it in a theater and even more so if you add in drinks and popcorn. Most people though don't have a Home Theater and watching a movie on a 60" TV in a typical living room isn't near the experience, so I think in one form or another movie theaters will survive - but not if the piss off the studios.
My first thought is Regal gets to have exclusives on Universal releases, which could help fill its theaters. Unless Regal joins AMC, it's like handing customers directly to your competitor.

And yes, "youngsters" will still want to place they can go out as a pack of friends, or on a date, and get a tiny bit of privacy that's unachievable in a home. I don't think that's going away. Cinephiles will want their art-house viewings. And people who love big action filled movies will likely still appreciate what premium amphitheaters like IMAX and Dolby Cinema offer.
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post #9 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:46 AM
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Suddenly it's clear exactly why we haven't seen this before. It's because the movie theaters effectively blackmailed the studios, if you do it once, you're completely cut out of theatrical distribution. I get it "it's business."

But having the exact same attitude when all your theaters are closed, and with uncertain prospects for how many tickets you can sell even when they do reopen, and consumers can pick up an 82" Samsung at Walmart for under 2 grand (i.e. a BIG TV is much less expensive than ever)??? I do not see how AMC has any leverage whatsoever anymore.
I think the Trolls release was a bit of the right movie at the right time. It came out right after all schools were closed and it's a Kids movie. I know my grand Kids could care less if they see a movie on the TV or even their tablet/phone compared to a true theater. The slight few of us that have a HT that can do a blockbuster justice are rare and adults will still want to see them in a theater. I do agree AMC would be committing suicide to ban Universal.

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post #10 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 05:53 AM
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What Universal has discovered will be picked up by other studios. The studios are all about making money and if shooting the middle man (the theaters) makes them more money, theaters will be gone. The studios are already up against Apple, Netflix and Amazon so they may as well join the fray.

The times, they are a changing !!!
Home Theatres are the way to go.

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post #11 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 06:59 AM
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Since I completed my home theater 10 years ago I've been to a real theater 4 times, You just need to be patient for a blockbuster. I went to Interstellar at an IMAX and it was terrible, it was just before they switched to digital and the highlights in the image were flickering terribly. Very distracting.
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post #12 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 07:06 AM
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Trolls World Tour made a hundred million bucks in VOD rentals so far, which is enough to open studio's eyes. What may have triggered AMC is the following quote from Universal: "As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats."
It was inevitable, even without the pandemic; and it's about damn time, if you ask me!
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post #13 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 07:24 AM
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Biggest Fear is Aspect Ratio

My biggest fear of direct release is the aspect ratio. Netflix compromised with directors and have their own aspect ratio (2:1) which is better than 16x9, but not as good at 2.35:1 or wider. This would be a major bummer for me since I like the wider cinematic experience. I'd still prefer to get the movies on disk as well for various reason, including full HD audio.

I'm with Big on going to the theaters. I have kids and we've only been to a couple movies at the theaters, just so they could experience it. My kids have never asked to go and seem indifferent as the home experience is quite nice and super convenient.
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post #14 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 07:29 AM
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I have to strongly agree there, it's not like Universal doesn't have a distribution channel given that it is owned by Comcast, which aside from its cable business owns Fandango, and Fandango just bought Vudu.

Shots fired.
They also are about to launch their own streaming service "Peacock" With AMC having issues financially more than ever, very surprising they would comment in such a way
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post #15 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 07:35 AM
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That's true. If movie theaters went away or if more movies went direct to stream would more and more content be 16:9? I really like movies being in wider aspect ratios and that's one reason I went with a Scope screen.

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post #16 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 07:40 AM
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My biggest fear of direct release is the aspect ratio. Netflix compromised with directors and have their own aspect ratio (2:1) which is better than 16x9, but not as good at 2.35:1 or wider. This would be a major bummer for me since I like the wider cinematic experience. I'd still prefer to get the movies on disk as well for various reason, including full HD audio.

I'm with Big on going to the theaters. I have kids and we've only been to a couple movies at the theaters, just so they could experience it. My kids have never asked to go and seem indifferent as the home experience is quite nice and super convenient.
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That's true. If movie theaters went away or if more movies went direct to stream would more and more content be 16:9? I really like movies being in wider aspect ratios and that's one reason I went with a Scope screen.
All the more reason to go CIW vs CIH IMO given the proliferation of really great content in Non-Scope format.

If all movies could be Digital that would be amazing - since currently my HT offers better sound and video than the local AMC. Even those Dolby Vision enabled theatres. Most of them tout high contract images but then they have Red Exit signs casting a red light on the screen. It seems like they dont even know how to design a good theatre anymore.

So bring on the digital and blu-ray movies.

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post #17 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 08:03 AM
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Not to worry, Magic Johnson Theatres will pick up the slack.
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post #18 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 08:15 AM
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This honestly makes me want to cancel my AMC theater pass. A very large Alamo drafthouse did open up right next to my house. Still not an easy decision though, as the AMC that is also right next to my house is the largest theater in Colorado. And: Dolby Cinema (still haven't checked out the "Big Show" at the Alamo but I'm just guessing it definitely isn't BETTER than the Dolby Cinema).
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post #19 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 08:47 AM
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With the announcement from the academy regarding streaming movies now being eligible almost immediately the theater business model will change immensely .
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post #20 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 08:56 AM
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I am all about these $20 rentals, but I would love an option at $30. Give me the 48 hour rental today, and when the movie is released it is mine to own. I wouldn't even think twice.
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post #21 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 09:58 AM
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I think Universal is making a miscalculation. The reason why Trolls made so much at home is because people are stuck at home and VOD will decline sharply once the quarantine is lifted and people venture out. Also, AMC is the largest theater chain in the US, Universal was the fourth highest grossing studio in 2019, Jurassic Park and Fast and Furious aren't cheap to make, and they still need traditional theater distribution to make back the money they spend to produce these movies.

Universal isn't Disney, they can't afford to tell the theaters to take a hike. I think this will be resolved via some negotiation and Universal movies will return to AMC.

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post #22 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I think Universal is making a miscalculation. The reason why Trolls made so much at home is because people are stuck at home and VOD will decline sharply once the quarantine is lifted and people venture out. Also, AMC is the largest theater chain in the US, Universal was the fourth highest grossing studio in 2019, Jurassic Park and Fast and Furious aren't cheap to make, and they still need traditional theater distribution to make back the money they spend to produce these movies.

Universal isn't Disney, they can't afford to tell the theaters to take a hike. I think this will be resolved via some negotiation and Universal movies will return to AMC.
Well, when you say Universal, you're saying Comcast. The market cap of Disney and Comcast are pretty close all things considered. Comcast does in fact have options in this game, IMO, because it has the money and the distribution channels.

I do know this, if people have to sit 6 feet apart in movie theaters after they reopen, then it's a moot point, the profitability of a blockbuster is gone.

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post #23 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 10:15 AM
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Well, when you say Universal, you're saying Comcast. The market cap of Disney and Comcast are pretty close. Comcast does in fact have options in this game, IMO, because it has the money and the distribution channels.
I say give the viewer the choice! Home Movies all the way!
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post #24 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Regal says it's not showing movies that "fail to respect the windows" either. Which I "get" but still, with no timeline for a return to normal when it comes to commercial theaters, does it matter? How long can these companies wait to make a comeback? If AMC is on the edge of insolvency, how is it going to manage all this? Regal too... how long can they hold out?


https://deadline.com/2020/04/cinewor...ws-1202920828/

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post #25 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 10:57 AM
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Regal says it's not showing movies that "fail to respect the windows" either. Which I "get" but still, with no timeline for a return to normal when it comes to commercial theaters, does it matter? How long can these companies wait to make a comeback? If AMC is on the edge of insolvency, how is it going to manage all this? Regal too... how long can they hold out?


https://deadline.com/2020/04/cinewor...ws-1202920828/
This feels like 'last gasp' posturing by movie theater chains to keep an exclusive window that will change based on customer preferences. Like trying to hold back the tide. It is easy to make a hard line stance on shutting out an entire Studios movie content when everything is shuttered and even if opened tomorrow very few would venture out and pack a theater. This will likely end in a negotiation that sees this 3-month window shrinking much more than theaters desire.
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post #26 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 11:37 AM
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I know that Universal advertised the hell out of that Trolls movie. I couldn't watch an online video or stream a show (funny enough) on the AMC app (Better Call Saul) without seeing the ad.

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post #27 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 11:38 AM
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Universal isn't exactly a money printing machine. They chose to push the Fast and the Furious 9 out a full year for release and the final Jurassic World is in post. This is probably a concerted effort by the theater owners to get the message out to the studios. It was announced today that, this year only, the Academy will not enforce the rule requiring a theatrical exhibit to be considered for an Oscar. The actual language of the Universal statement is filled with caveats. I think Universal will use this as opportunity to test their negotiating power with theaters, but at the end of the day, the big films will go to theaters. The smaller films that would see limited release will probably go to PVOD.

I do enjoy going to theaters for big, event type of movies. I saw The Rise of Skywalker in a theater but nothing since then primarily because life is real hectic. My dedicated theater room is undergoing an upgrade but it generally tops theaters with the exception being Dolby Cinemas or true IMAX.

All in all, I'm ready to go back to see a movie in the theater.
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post #28 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 11:48 AM
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If I've learned anything in sci-fi movies is that there are no movie theaters in the future. It's all about instant personal gratification/entertainment.

And if the numbers are showing video on demand to pull in these kinds of numbers why would they not move to this channel?

Convenience trumps everything for the average consumer and if they can rent new releases day one of release, why not. That's why we on the forums have our own theaters. Of all people we should rejoice now we can just chill at home and watch the movie with better picture and sound.

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Originally Posted by Cyberathlete View Post
If I've learned anything in sci-fi movies is that there are no movie theaters in the future. It's all about instant personal gratification/entertainment.

And if the numbers are showing video on demand to pull in these kinds of numbers why would they not move to this channel?

Convenience trumps everything for the average consumer and if they can rent new releases day one of release, why not. That's why we on the forums have our own theaters. Of all people we should rejoice now we can just chill at home and watch the movie with better picture and sound.

exactly!


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post #30 of 111 Old 04-29-2020, 12:18 PM
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Although these times are a bit of an outlier on all fronts, $100M will get everybody's attention at any time. The B&M theaters are making such a dramatic response because they can see the writing on the wall.

Personally, I don't care if B&M theaters start to fade the same direction that drive-in theaters went. I've been once in the last 5 years or so, because my son really wanted to see a certain movie for his birthday. Afterwords he commented about how rudely the only other group of people in the theater were constantly talking.
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