NBCUniversal Chief Predicts More Early VOD Releases In The Future
In the wake of Trolls World Tour’s monstrous VOD success, NBCUniversal chief Jeff Shell revealed his plan to have premium VOD releases become a "complementary element" to theatrical distribution for certain titles on a "case-by-case" basis, according to Variety. This means that in the future, NBCUniversal may look past the previously accepted practice of giving exhibitors a 90-day window of exclusivity for theatrical titles in theaters. Earlier this week, Shell’s comments ruffled the feathers of AMC Theaters, who have decided to remove Universal’s titles from their screens when they are back up and running. The latest to chime in on the issue is Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld, who stated that they will “not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows.”
Trolls World Tour unexpectedly became the movie that rocked the world of film distribution amidst the global pandemic. As major studios have been postponing their titles left and right, NBCUniversal made the bold choice to honor its April 10th release date by making the movie available on VOD for $19.99. The profits were incredibly lucrative — Trolls World Tour grossed $100 million in just three weeks, which is more than the first Trolls movie made during its five-month theatrical run. The results Universal’s decision are causing the studio to heavily consider using the release model more in the future.
While Shell stood by the notion that theatrical releases are going to be the “central element” to Universal’s business in the film industry, he also urged that the studio will be forced to adapt in a post-COVID-19 world. “The majority of movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home," said Shell. “It’s not realistic to assume we’re not going to change, that this part of this business isn’t going to change like all parts of the business are going to change.”
Gallery — Movies That Went Early to VOD Because of Coronavirus: