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World's second largest cinema chain warns Universal, others over same-day releases

30 Apr 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

Cineworld, the world's second largest cinema chain, warns Universal and other Hollywood studios that it "will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows".

Warns against day-and-date

The world's largest cinema chain has announced a boycott of Universal after the Hollywood studio said that it is planning to release more movies simultaneously online and in theaters following the success of Trolls World Tour. Cineworld, which is the world's second largest cinema chain with theaters in the US (Regal) and several European countries, now proclaims that it "will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows", meaning any movie that does not play exclusively in theaters for the first few months. It is not a boycott - like AMC's - but more of a warning to Universal and other Hollywood studios. - "Cineworld’s roots go back 90 years in the industry and it was always open to showing any movie as long as the rules were kept and not changed by one sided moves. Today we make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us," said Cineworld. The comments were published in a press release that also included a written message from Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld's CEO, to Brian Roberts, the Chairman of Comcast (who owns Universal), dated March 19. - "Nice words from your team are worthless if we cannot trust you as a partner. The message that the media has portrayed is: "Hollywood breaks the window" - well, this is not true! All our partners called us in a timely manner and told us that in the current situation they want to shorten the window for movies that were already released as cinemas are closing, most importantly, they all reassured us that there will be no change to their window policy once the cinema business returned. Unfortunately I missed a similar message in Universal's announcement... not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window - but Universal was the ONLY studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a 'day-and-date' release of a movie that was not yet released." With the world's two largest cinema chains and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) on one side, and Universal Pictures on the other side, things are heating up. In response to Cineworld's remarks, Universal reiterated that it is "disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt" by theater chains and NATO. - Source: Cineworld

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