August 4, 2020
Following AMC Theatres’ landmark decision to allow Universal Pictures to distribute movies into consumer homes just 17 days after their theatrical debut, rival chain Cinemark is questioning the move indirectly.
Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America. Speaking on the Aug. 4 fiscal call, CEO Mark Zoradi said theatrical exclusivity for new studio movies must be maintained despite the current COVID-19 environment that has seen the exhibition business shuttered since mid-March.
Saying the company wouldn’t comment on the strategies of its rivals, Zoradi said an exclusive theatrical window is critically important to the industry.
“While we have publicly stated that we’re willing to have conversations with our studio partners to evolve windows, we’re mindful that an overly aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact to the mid-to-tail-end of a film’s life,” he said.
Key to the AMC/Universal deal is the exhibitor’s revenue-sharing agreement on sales/rentals of titles into the home entertainment market.
Mindful of incremental revenue possibilities via transactional VOD following a fiscal quarter that saw Cinemark generate just $37,000 in ticket sales over 90 days, Zoradi said he remains open to change during the pandemic and beyond.
“We will be very careful and methodical about how we approach any change to the theatrical windows,” he said. “We continue to carefully analyze and research this matter. And we will endeavor to ensure any modifications are in the best interests of the overall industry, our company and our shareholders.”