If this pandemic has created the setting for any progress to be made, it is progress for the streaming era.
As movie theaters shuttered, studios like Universal and Disney have opted to forgo awaiting theaters reopening for a cinematic release, and instead release their latest blockbusters directly to PVOD or on their streaming services.
While this has benefited moviegoers, the theaters themselves have suffered greatly.
According to Variety, the combination closures and streaming releases have caused AMC to lost $500 million in the latest financial quarter which AMC’s CEO described as one of the hardest quarters in AMC’s 100-year history.
But as theaters get ready to reopen, AMC Theaters CEO, Adam Aron believes that the company has survived the pandemic, and is now ready to find a way to work with studios in this new streaming era.
AMC’s Relationship with Universal, Disney, & Warner Bros.
The biggest example of this adaptation is AMC’s new deal with Universal. The studio can now release movies in the home after the film runs in theaters for 17 days. Universal can also its films for a 48-hour rental for at least $20 and AMC will get an undisclosed portion of that revenue.
This deal comes after Universal decided to release Trolls: World Tour on digital and saw unprecedented financial success. Aron also stated that Disney’s decision to release Mulan on Disney+ reaffirms his decision to evolve.
“Just like AMC is under duress, Disney’s under pressure too, and at some point they’ve got to monetize their movie product,” said Aron.
Rather than criticizing Disney for the decision, as several other theater owners have recently done, Aron instead expressed hope that Disney would consider adopting a deal similar to that with Universal.
But AMC’s CEO also praised Warner Bros. for holding out to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in theaters.
“I think Warner Bros. is doing something heroic for the exhibition industry by releasing ‘Tenet’ in a few weeks,” he said. “Assuming it doesn’t slip.”
He also has confidence that movie theaters will never go away.
“There are certain advantages to watching a film on a 40-foot screen to watching it on a 40-inch screen,” Aron said. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people will do anything to get out of their house or their apartment. If you told me right now I could go spend three hours at a hardware store, I would tell you that’s an exciting afternoon.”
AMC Responds to Criticism for Change
Several of AMC’s have criticized it for making these new deals, saying it is the “wrong move at the wrong time.”
“We would not have signed on to an economic program that we thought was a negative,” Aron said.
He added: “We’ve researched it, we’ve modeled it, we’ve thought about it, we’ve argued about it, we’ve debated it, and we’re sure that we’re coming out ahead.”
“I do realize that some of our competitors are anxious about this change,” he said. “Change is always difficult for some to cope with.”
Aron also believes that AMC will get a better deal being the first theater company to adapt to this change telling variety, “you should assume that we got a first-mover advantage.”
“We are very close to theaters opening soon in the United States,” said Aron. “See you at the movies. See you at AMC.”
What do you think about AMC’s decision? Do you think it is the right move? Let us know in the comments!