Bitter row means Odeon will no longer show Universal films

Home UK Bitter row means Odeon will no longer show Universal films
Bitter row means Odeon will no longer show Universal films

Films from Universal Pictures are no longer going to be shown in Odeon cinemas because of a bitter row over how movies are released.

The ban by AMC Theatres, Odeon's parent company, comes after Universal released Trolls On Tour digitally because of the coronavirus outbreak – meaning the animated film was available in homes immediately.

Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBC Universal, said that decision had been a success, with the film selling five million copies and making $100m (£80.4m) through digital sales alone.

Image: Trolls World Tour was released direct to homes after its theatrical release was disrupted

Mr Shell told the Wall Street Journal that the company expects to release future films in cinemas and direct to homes simultaneously – prompting an angry response from AMC Theatres.

In a letter to Universal Studios, AMC chief executive Adam Aron said the radical change is "unacceptable" – and in retaliation, he confirmed that the company's movies will not be shown in any of its 1,000 theatres around the world.

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Some of Universal's best-known releases include Jurassic World, the Fast & Furious franchise and Minions.

Mr Aron wrote: "When a movie is 'only in theatres', consumers perceive it to be higher quality entertainment. Countless filmmakers and moviegoers believe that their creative works are best enjoyed by consumers on the big screen.

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"And we all know that those theatrical releases indeed boost publicity, positive word-of-mouth, critical acclaim and downstream revenues.

"Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally… AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies."

Mr Aron accused Universal of wanting to "have its cake and eat it too" – and said AMC had no choice but to act.

Trolls World Tour was released direct to homes after its theatrical release was disrupted
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