Media Moment (07/31/20)

As the pandemic continues to ravage the nation with no signs of slowing down, movie theaters’ future is one of many industries in peril. NBCUniversal apparently saw success with a digital first-run release of Trolls: World Tour earlier in the year and want to pursue that home streaming model. However, AMC, the largest theater chain in the country, stated they would not show Universal films in their theaters if the company went this route. Negotiations have developed a very different distribution model.

The theatrical exhibition model of three months for Universal films has been slashed to three weeks, with the pictures moving to premium video on demand ($20 for a rental). AMC is reported to receive more than 20% of profits made on the streaming rentals as part of the compromise. Universal has not announced what their first film will be to test this model, but many questions remain. Studios often get 80-90% of ticket sales, leaving theaters on the low end of the profits. With a reduced exhibition window, this looks to set AMC to make considerably less money from their theaters.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell stated that this new model would “actually allow movies to come back to theaters a lot more quickly then they would have in the current environment.” I’m not sure what he means by that, if movies would play in theaters, then leave for on-demand, and then come back to theaters? Regal Cinemas’ parent company Cineworld is quite mad about this deal. CEO Mooky Greidinger released a statement expressing that this business model made no sense to him and that he sees this as the utterly wrong move to make.

The trailer for Amazon Prime’s American remake of Utopia dropped during the digital version of Comic-Con this year. I was hyped when I saw Gillian Flynn was the showrunner with input from series creator Dennis Kelly. I can’t say I am too excited after seeing our first trailer and reading over some of the changes being made. I will still watch it with hopes it can capture some of the magic of the original.

Alex Winter finally announced that Bill & Ted Face the Music will be released simultaneously in theaters & on-demand on September 1st. A new trailer dropped, and I am delighted I can watch this from the safety of my home.

Miranda July’s new film Kajillionaire has its first trailer. I am a big fan of July’s previous features Me and You and Everyone You Know & The Future. This looks pretty great.

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