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AMC Will Not Show Universal Films in Theaters

By Jennifer Saibil – Jun 23, 2020 at 1:11PM

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There's been no resolution in the two companies' disagreement over bringing films straight to streaming.

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.

Bypassing theaters

NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast (CMCSA -1.94%), 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.

Family watching TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

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 (AMC 1.78%), 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.

Jennifer Saibil has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short July 2020 $115 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
$7.99 (1.78%) $0.14
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
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The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
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