The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way people do many things, from shopping to playing sports. While many of the new behaviors may disappear once COVID-19 does, some of them seem to be part of a new normal.
One of the trends that may stick around is home movie streaming. Companies such as Netflix (NFLX -0.88%) and Walt Disney (DIS 3.51%) had seen success with their streaming even before COVID-19 kept people at home and out of theaters, but theater closures certainly didn't hurt. Theater companies, however, have been crushed by the pandemic, and may continue to struggle even once they open as filmgoers have become quite comfortable watching at home.
Take me out to the theater
AMC (AMC 9.74%), the world's largest movie theater company, has been receiving attention for its woes, and a particularly nasty battle with film company Universal. Universal, which is owned by Comcast (CMCSA 1.55%), said that going forward it would release its films straight to streaming with theater showings, dismissing the current 90-day window for theaters. AMC shot back with a refusal to show Universal films when it reopens theaters. The two came to an agreement last week that gives AMC a new 17-day window before Universal can bring movies to streaming.
Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark Holdings (CNK 2.88%), the third-largest movie theater operator in the U.S., said on Tuesday that the company wasn't looking to join in the compromise. Zoradi said that an "aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact on the mid-to-tail end of a films life." He added that he might be willing to make concessions under conditions that were in the "best interests of the overall industry, our company and our shareholders."