COVID-19 may have changed the nature of some businesses forever. Several film studios released movies straight to streaming, and now that theaters are about to reopen, some of them won't be going back.
NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCS.A), made the decision to release Trolls World Tour straight to streaming while theaters were closed because of the pandemic. Released in April as a rental for $19.99, the film took in over $100 million in three weeks, more than the original Trolls did in five months in theaters.
Based on that success, the studio said it would be bringing in other new releases straight to streaming at the same time that they're released in theaters.
Traditionally, studios have always abided by a 90-day window for theaters to showcase new productions exclusively before they are released to video or streaming.
Taking a tough stand
AMC (NYSE:AMC), the largest movie theater operator in the world, has said it would not feature Universal films as a result of that decision when it reopens theaters in July.
CEO Adam Aron said that it was understandable that studios took new movies to streaming while theaters were closed -- Walt Disney also released the film Artemis Fowl straight to Disney+ -- but as theaters reopen, it presents a problem.
"AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies," Aron said in a letter to Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley.