‘Fatima’, ‘Friendsgiving’, ‘Rambo’ Steelbook Collection Top Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fatima, Lionsgate’s  Friendsgiving and Warner Bros.’ Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale top the slate of new releases available for for home viewers beginning Oct. 27.

Other new releases consumers can  now watch at home include Warner’s Toys of Terror and a Steelbook collector’s set of all five “Rambo” movies on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate, available exclusively at Best Buy.

Fatima, which is being released on DVD only two weeks after its digital debut, is a historical drama  based on the story of one of the Catholic Church’s most fabled places of pilgrimage. In 1917, outside the parish of Fátima, Portugal, a 10-year-old girl and her two younger cousins witness multiple visitations of the Virgin Mary, who tells them that only prayer and suffering will bring an end to World War I. Word of the sighting spreads across the country, inspiring religious pilgrims to flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle.

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Friendsgiving becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD three days after its initial release for digital purchase and on VOD. Produced by Ben Stiller, the comedy finds Abby (Kat Dennings) looking forward to a laidback Thanksgiving with her best friend Molly (Malin Akerman). But plans for a quiet turkey dinner go up in smoke when they’re joined by Molly’s new boyfriend and her flamboyant mother (Jane Seymour). Soon come party crashers, including Molly’s old flame, a wannabe shaman, and a trio of Fairy Gay Mothers (Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, and Fortune Feimster).

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Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale on Oct. 27 debuts in a new special edition Blu-ray and DVD. The animated holiday film finds the iconic cartoon characters in a dazzling winter wonderland, brought to life through holiday magic and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music. The film also is available for digital purchase.

Toys of Terror becomes available for digital viewing only ahead of its Jan. 19, 2021, disc release. The movie, which seeks to re-create the nostalgia of stop-motion holiday specials, stars Dayo Ade and Kyana Teresa as David and Hannah Cashman, who have promised their family a fun Christmas getaway. But when they arrive at a grand old house in the snowy woods of Washington and are greeted by a familiar construction foreman, the kids realize their parents plan to make it a working vacation, renovating the place in the hopes of flipping it. Alicia (Verity Marks) and her young siblings (Saul Elias and Zoe Fish), though annoyed, find themselves distracted after they find a stash of old toys in an abandoned playroom of the creepy mansion. Before long, they seem to be inseparable from their new playthings, much to the consternation of their nanny (Georgia Waters), who senses that something in the house is not quite right.

Rambo: The Complete Steelbook Collection arrives in stores Oct. 27 and features all five films in the popular Sylvester Stallone action franchise in individual Steelbook cases housed in a larger metal display box. Stallone plays John Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran haunted by his experiences and fighting for justice. The set includes 1982’s First Blood, 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1988’s Rambo III, 2008’s Rambo and 2019’s Rambo: Last Blood. The combo packs include regular Blu-ray and digital copies of the films as well.

Each film includes bonus features ranging from deleted scenes, trailers, exclusive featurettes and commentaries.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

‘The Silencing,’ ‘Welcome to Sudden Death’ Top Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases

Lionsgate’s The Silencing and Universal Pictures’ Welcome to Sudden Death top the slate of new disc and digital releases available Sept. 29.

Also newly available, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD: Shout! Factory’s 20th anniversary edition of children’s classic Thomas and the Magic Railroad;  10-movie Illumination Films, Focus and Blumhouse collections from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment;  and Season One of “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” from Paramount Home Entertainment (also available through digital retailers).

The Silencing stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) as a reformed hunter, and Annabelle Wallis as a sheriff, who are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse when they set out to track a killer who may have kidnapped the hunter’s daughter five years earlier. The cast also includes Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Zahn McClarnon and Melanie Scrofano.

The film, available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, was released through VOD Aug. 14.

Welcome to Sudden Death, a remake of the 1995 Jean-Claude Van Damme action film, was directed by Dallas Jackson and becomes available on DVD only, as well as through digital retailers. The film centers on Jesse Freeman (Michael Jai White), a former special forces officer and explosives expert now working a regular job as a security guard in a high-tech basketball arena. When terrorists kidnap the team’s owner and Jesse’s daughter during opening night, it’s up to Jesse to save them.

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Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a 2000 British-American fantasy adventure based on the popular TV series “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends,” which in turn is based on The Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry. The movie stars Alec Baldwin (as Mr. Conductor), Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn, Russell Means, Cody McMains, Michael E. Rodgers, and Eddie Glen as the voice of Thomas.

“Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” is a dark fantasy TV series set in Los Angeles during 1938. A spinoff of the British-American horror drama TV series “Penny Dreadful,” the series revolves around two police detectives investigating a gruesome murder who face off against demons, racial tension and Nazi conspiracies. The series premiered in April and in August was canceled after one season.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

‘Fatima’ Coming to Digital Oct. 13, DVD Oct. 27 From Universal

Picturehouse’s historical drama Fatima will come out on digital Oct. 13 and DVD Oct. 27 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film is based on the story of one of the Catholic Church’s most fabled places of pilgrimage. In 1917, outside the parish of Fátima, Portugal, a 10-year-old girl and her two younger cousins witness multiple visitations of the Virgin Mary, who tells them that only prayer and suffering will bring an end to World War I. Word of the sighting spreads across the country, inspiring religious pilgrims to flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle. The film stars Goran Višnjić (Beginners), Joaquim de Almeida (“Queen of the South”), Stephanie Gil (Terminator: Dark Fate), Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually), with Golden Globe nominee Sônia Braga (Aquarius) and Academy Award nominee Harvey Keitel (The Piano).

Fatima also features two songs from the world-renowned Italian operatic tenor and Grammy Award-nominee Andrea Bocelli. The songs, “Gloria” and lead single “Gratia Plena,” a new original song composed for the movie by Paolo Buonvino, are also featured on the film’s soundtrack album, which debuted at retailers nationwide on Aug. 28.

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Bonus features on digital and DVD include a look into the recording of “Gratia Plena,” featurettes, and interviews with the cast and crew that take audiences behind the scenes.

‘Save Yourselves!’ Coming to Disc and Digital Oct. 6

Save Yourselves! will come out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital Oct. 6 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, a young Brooklyn couple (Sunita Mani, “Glow,” and John Reynolds, “Stranger Things”) heads to an upstate cabin to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. Blissfully unaware of their surroundings, they are left to their own devices as the planet falls under attack.

Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include “Pouffe! The Visual Effects Magic of Save Yourselves!,” in which the filmmakers and crew discuss some of the inventive practical effects they used to bring the film’s alien cast members to life (available on digital only); deleted and extended scenes; a blooper reel; and feature commentary with director-writer Alex Huston Fischer and director-writer Eleanor Wilson.

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‘42’ Joins ‘Black Panther’ on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart as Viewers Remember Chadwick Boseman

A second movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Warner’s 42, debuted in the top 10 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 5, joining the Disney-distributed Black Panther, which joined the chart the prior week.

Chadwick died of cancer at the age of 43 on Aug. 28. In 42, he portrays baseball great Jackie Robinson; in Black Panther, he plays a Marvel superhero. Coincidentally, Major League Baseball Aug. 28 celebrated Jackie Robinson day, with all players wearing No. 42, which no doubt added exposure to that particular Boseman film.

The weekly Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, saw 42 debut at No. 9. Black Panther, which had been No. 9 a week earlier, rose to No. 6.

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Robin’s Wish, a Vertical Entertainment documentary about the life and death of late comic actor Robin Williams, bowed at No. 16 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart.

Two films newly released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Lionsgate’s action thriller Rogue, with Megan Fox as a battle-hardened mercenary, and the political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, also appear on the chart for the first time.

Rogue (No. 12) finds Samantha O’Hara (Fox) leading a team of soldiers-for-hire on a daring mission to rescue hostages from their captors in rural Africa.  They wind up stranded and have to battle not only brutal rebels but also a horde of enraged lions.

Irresistible (No. 19) was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. The film, from Focus Features, was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

Both Rogue and Irresistable were released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Sept. 1.

Also new to chart is Warner Bros.’ Beetlejuice (No. 18), spurred by the film’s Sept. 1 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The top five remain unchanged from the prior week. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, with RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector remaining at No. 4 and Universal’s The King of Staten Island again at No. 5.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  6. Black Panther (Disney)
  7. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  8. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  12. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  13. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM)
  15. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  16. Robin’s Wish (Vertical Entertainment)
  17. 1917 (Universal)
  18. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  19. Irresistible (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Sept. 5.

Universal Launches Digital Movie Promotion With 1-800-Flowers

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is making some of its most popular films available as an add-on purchase for 1-800-Flowers.com customers.

Customers of the flower delivery service have the opportunity to purchase a digital movie as a complement to their gift, while also letting their gift recipients select the movie of their choice from a slate of film titles.

At launch, hundreds of films from the Universal vault will be available as a digital movie add-on, including recent releases, such as Trolls World Tour and The Invisible Man, along with catalog titles, such as Jurassic WorldJaws and Back to the Future. Customers can choose from two pricing tiers, $6.99 for award-winning classic and popular hit films and $9.99 for blockbuster hits and newer releases. The movie is the recipient’s to keep through the digital movie collection app Movies Anywhere.

“With many people choosing to stay home, backyards everywhere have been transformed into makeshift movie theaters,” Amit Shah, president of 1-800-Flowers.com, said in a statement. “This exciting collaboration with Universal, together with the unique delivery experience designed by SmartGift, provides a fantastic new way for customers to engage with our brand and connect with each other.”

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Via SmartGift, customers can synchronize the arrival of their digital movie code with their gift delivery. They can also notify the recipient that their gift is on its way and surprise them with the film ahead of time. Through the messaging app of their choice — email, Facebook Messenger or SMS — recipients will digitally unwrap their gift to find a redemption code which will unlock access to a list of films from which they can make their movie selection.

“Digital movie collecting continues to surge,” Michael Aaronson, SVP of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, said in a statement. “Now consumers can enrich every gifting occasion with a personalized movie experience that, for the first time, offers the opportunity to pair a digital movie with another gift via a major e-commerce brand. By giving the recipient the power to choose the film that is right for them, this collaboration introduces the most personalized and flexible digital movie gifting experience in the marketplace. We look forward to expanding this unique add-on offer across the broader 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. portfolio of brands in the coming months.”

Recipients will receive a curated list of ideas for suggested movie pairings to complement their gifting occasion, including Birthdays, Anniversaries and Get Well.

Through Movies Anywhere, gift recipients can redeem their code and view the movie at their convenience on the screen of their choice.

Now through Sept, 9, customers will have the opportunity to enter to win some of the essentials needed to create a theater-quality experience in their backyard, including a portable projector and screen, digital movie code, a premium The Popcorn Factory 18-Pack Popcorn Sampler and more. For more information, visit https://www.1800flowers.com/universal-pictures.

“How-to” resources for setting up a movie night under the stars can be found here.

AFI and Universal Launch ‘Black Stories Matter’ Compaign Offering Free Digital Movie Rentals

The American Film Institute (AFI) and Universal Pictures have launched a week-long AFI Movie Club event called “Black Stories Matter,” spotlighting narratives from celebrated black films.

Born from a recent AFI/Universal collaboration honoring Do the Right Thing and Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee, the expanded partnership will pay tribute to BlacKkKlansman, Get Out, Girls Trip, Loving and Straight Outta Compton with free digital movie rentals.

Each of the Universal films will be available to rent for free on Amazon, Apple, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Dish, FandangoNow, Redbox, Verizon and Vudu, among others, beginning Aug. 24 through Aug. 30.

Enhanced AFI Movie Club content will feature new interviews with composer Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman), Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip), cinematographer and AFI Alum Matthew Libatique (Straight Outta Compton), Ruth Negga (Loving), writer Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip), Ron Stallworth (BlacKkKlansman) and more.

“For decades, Universal has supported thought-provoking stories and powerful perspectives that have served to enlighten, enrich and entertain,” Donna Langley, chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and AFI Trustee, said in a statement. “Through this partnership with AFI, we are proud to further shine a light on these distinctly important works that continue to so poignantly amplify today’s conversation.”

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AFI Movie Club will highlight each day’s film with a conversation between film critic Shawn Edwards and filmmakers and talent involved with the films; “Behind the Scene” featurettes about a specific scene examined by an artist from the film; and exclusive clips sourced from AFI’s archive of Master Class Seminars, as well as curated trivia researched from the AFI Catalog of Feature Films.

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“The mission of AFI and the AFI Movie Club has always been to educate and inspire audiences — and to drive culture forward,” Bob Gazzale, president and CEO of the American Film Institute, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Universal and to further the conversation about stories that are culturally and nationally significant.”

The moderated conversations, featurettes and exclusive AFI Archive material will be available on AFI.com/MovieClub and the AFI YouTube channel at YouTube.com/AFI.

Launched on March 31 with the goal to show audiences a world of art above anxiety, AFI Movie Club has announced a classic film a day as a way of connecting audiences with “movies to watch together when we’re apart,” according to the AFI. The first title was The Wizard of Oz and was announced via special video introduction by Steven Spielberg. Since then, special guests introducing daily titles have included J.J. Abrams, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jack Black, Kenneth Branagh, Millie Bobby Brown, Hanelle Culpepper, Robert De Niro, Benicio del Toro, Lena Dunham, Cynthia Erivo, Carl Franklin, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, Hugh Grant, Taylor Hackford, Jon Hamm, Asher Jelinsky, Eva Longoria, Leonard Maltin, Helen Mirren, Demi Moore, LaToya Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Mira Nair, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Issa Rae, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Roberts, Sarah Silverman, Alicia Silverstone, Sharon Stone, Emma Thompson and Kerry Washington.

Ampere Research: Pandemic Breaks Down Value of Theatrical Window

The pandemic has opened a door to breaking the theatrical window.

Research firm Ampere modeled various fictional scenarios of windowing during the pandemic, comparing the income post-COVID 19 to the income a title would have expected to have generated pre-2020.

“In a pre-COVID world, many of the scenarios would have offered only marginal gains (with significant risks) compared to a traditional release strategy,” according to Ampere. “However, in post-COVID markets, these options have started to look like viable opportunities.”

To assess the viability of a selection of alternative approaches, Ampere created a fictional mid-tier movie and modeled a series of windowing scenarios based on market trends, designing four scenarios of new windowing practices studios may adopt:

  • Scenario 1: Replace the first window theatrical distribution with premium video-on-demand (PVOD).
  • Scenario 2: Adopt strategies of using PVOD and theatrical windows sequentially, similar to Universal’s recent deal with AMC.
  • Scenario 3: Replace traditional windowing with a pure direct-to-consumer offering.
  • Scenario 4: Release films theatrically before making titles available exclusively on their own direct-to-consumer services.

The firm found the Universal deal with AMC (Scenario 2) was the most viable model for mid-tier releases. In Scenario 2, Ampere found that an accelerated PVOD window, such as the deal between Universal and AMC, is the most stable for exhibitors and studio groups, offering comparable returns for cinemas and increased revenue for the studio on mid- and lower-tier releases. However, top-tier titles are likely to be better monetized via traditional windowing models. The presence of theatrical releases still offers consumers the opportunity to view the movie with a cinema experience, meaning that this model doesn’t risk ‘lost’ transactions — unlike some of the other scenarios Ampere explored. The success of the model depends on negotiations with exhibitors and retailers, Ampere noted. Before agreeing to an earlier window, exhibitors will want to ensure that the mid-term future of the theatrical business is not being eroded to the extent that it will sideline them in future periods. Studios will need to work with digital retailers to ensure that films are adequately signposted as premium releases and are not unfavorably compared to catalogues of cheaper rentals, according to Ampere.

There is a significant appetite for home rental and purchase, with the domestic U.S. transactional video market at roughly 40% of theatrical’s size, according to Ampere. In principle, some titles could earn comparable amounts from PVOD as from theatrical distribution. However, for high-end blockbuster titles, which are typically able to obtain greater cuts of box office revenue, and international releases (in markets where the digital rental and retail market is less well developed), a pure PVOD approach would be far more risky. To account for this, split models would be more appropriate, with strategies tailored according to local importance of a title and the appetite for home rental and retail, according to Ampere.

Ampere’s research revealed that a theatrical to direct-to-consumer model is likely to be more feasible than a pure D2C model (bypassing theatrical entirely). However, both approaches are dependent on numerous influencing factors. Whether the model suits any given title is contingent on the retention of any new subscribers who signed up to watch the movie, and therefore the strategy is reliant on keeping both wider catalogue costs, and subscriber churn rates, down, according to Ampere.

“Looking forward, Ampere believes some of the major studios will adopt split strategies that can utilize PVOD while maintaining the benefits of theatrical distribution,” said Ampere analyst Peter Ingram in a statement. “Most of the studios have been experimenting with strategies during lockdown that completely eschew the theatrical window. However, despite the change we are expecting to the cinema market, theatrical remains one of the best revenue streams for titles throughout their life cycle. Not only do most people see the film in its theatrical window, but tickets are charged on an individual basis. By comparison, when a film is bought via PVOD, or watched via an SVOD service, it can be shared with friends and family under a single transaction.”

‘Scoob!’ Surges in Home-Viewing Demand After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

The animated Scoob! debuted at No. 2  on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 25, with demand for the film skyrocketing in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD.

The Warner Bros. film was the first full-length animated Scooby-Doo movie intended for theatrical release, but with the mid-March closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film instead debuted digitally, on premium VOD and EST, on May 15.

Another rerouted animated movie, Trolls World Tour, from DreamWorks Animation, remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week on the “Watched at Home” chart, which  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Scoob! was available for streaming on the new HBO Max SVOD service prior to its release on physical media.

Paramount’s three seasons of “Yellowstone” again rounded out the top five.

With no new theatrical product entering the home entertainment pipeline, home viewing demand remains high for recent high-profile feature films such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man and Sony Pictures Jumanji: The Next Level, which finished at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.

Another PVOD release, Universal Pictures’ The High Note, starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross, debuted at No. 10 after its release through regular digital channels. The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 11.

Also new to the chart: Lionsgate’s Capone, a multi-platform release about the notorious gangster Al Capone (No. 18), and the British science-fiction film Archive, released digitally to home audiences by Vertical Entertainment (No. 20).

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The High Note (Universal)
  11. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  12. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony)
  14. Batman Beyond: Seasons 1-3 (Warner)
  15. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  17. The Hunt (Universal)
  18. Capone (Lionsgate)
  19. Fantasy Island (Sony Pictures)
  20. Archive (Vertical)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended July 25

AMC, Universal Strike Landmark PVOD Distribution Deal

Universal Film Entertainment Group and AMC Theatres July 28 announced a landmark distribution deal for the studio’s new release movies, which includes provisions for early debuts into the home on premium VOD.

The deal allows Universal, which has aggressively launched movies into retail channels via PVOD during the coronavirus pandemic — creating an acrimonious rift with the nation’s largest exhibitor, AMC, and others — to distribute titles on PVOD three weekends (as little as 17 days) after their initial bow in AMC Theatres. The agreement, which also includes new titles from Focus Features, will afford early consumer access via AMC Theatres On Demand. In the coming weeks, the two companies will begin discussions surrounding international distribution agreements in the countries in Europe and the Middle East served by AMC.

The typical theatrical window has been up to three months. AMC will split the $20 PVOD fee with Universal in return for the abridged window. The agreement does not include the typical retail window when titles are rented and sold from $3 to $6 through myriad digital channels such as Redbox, iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play and Movies Anywhere.

Universal’s traditional windows for electronic sellthrough and video on demand (VOD) remain unchanged. The companies said they reached this agreement based on their “shared commitment” to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership that is focused on serving consumers worldwide, while preserving and enhancing the theatrical experience.

As a result, the deal means when the next “Fast & Furious” installment, F9, hits theaters April 2, 2021, Universal could give consumers the choice to either see it in the cineplex or wait a few weeks to buy or rent it.

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”

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Peter Levinsohn, Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer of UFEG, who led negotiations on behalf of the studio, said the studio’s commitment to innovation in how it delivers content to audiences is what artists, partners and shareholders expect of Hollywood.

“We are excited about the opportunity this new structure presents to grow our business,” Levinsohn said. “We are grateful to AMC for their partnership and the leadership they have shown in working with us to reach this historic deal.”

AMC CEO Adam Aron, who said the chain “enthusiastically embraces this new industry model,” said the deal puts a premium on the long-term health of the exhibition industry.

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“We would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theatres in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world,” Aron said. “As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theatres will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn.”

AMC is planning to reopen about 600 U.S. theaters in August.