Coronavirus shut down movie theaters, and then we got to experience new movies releasing straight to digital — or VERY shortly after their theatrical release.
One of the largest theater chains has signed a deal with one of the largest movie studios that will make watching brand-new movies on digital the new normal for the next several years.
Here’s what’s happening:
Universal movies can go to digital after three weeks in AMC Theatres.
The largest movie theater chain, AMC Theatres, and Universal Pictures have signed a deal that will allow new movies to be released to digital three weeks after premiering in cinemas.
Historically, filmmakers have had to wait at least three months before getting to stream movies on demand.
Previously, AMC was threatening not to show any Universal films because of their decision to send movies straight to digital while theaters were closed.
The digital premieres cost $20 for a 48-hour rental.
Just like already experienced with a number of new releases this spring/summer, streaming new releases will cost more than standard on-demand rentals — but when you think about how much it costs to go to the theaters, it’s still a pretty good deal.
AMC, which once claimed they might not ever reopen, likes the deal because they’re going to get a percentage of these premium streaming sales.
You’ll still have to wait 3 months to buy a movie or stream for cheap.
The Universal-AMC deal means that while you can enjoy streaming within 17 days, you’ll be paying premium price — until 3 months out. At that point, studios can sell the movies and offer the traditional digital rental price (generally $3-$6).
Other studios will probably start doing the same thing soon.
Disney has already indicated a willingness to send their movies straight to digital — either via pay-per-view outlets like Amazon or through their own Disney+ service.
An article in Variety predicted that rival studios will likely seek similar deals with cinemas, to have more control over how/when their movies hit on-demand platforms.