Cinemark Isn’t Sold on AMC-Universal Early VOD Deal

Cinemark isn’t sold on AMC Theatres plans to shorten the length of time that films play in theaters. The pact, which trims theatrical windows at AMC locations, was made with Universal Pictures and will allow movies from the studio behind “Jurassic World” and “Fast and the Furious” to potentially debut on premium video-on-demand after 17 days in cinemas.

“We believe an exclusive theatrical window is critically important,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi told investors during an earnings call on Tuesday, adding that, “An aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact on the mid-to tail-end of a film’s life.”

Zoradi said his company is willing to have talks with other studios about shortening the window, but he didn’t provide much clarity on where those discussions stand other than to describe them as “ongoing.”

The Cinemark chief’s comments were relatively reserved compared to the blistering assessment of Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger. The exhibitor blasted the agreement as the “wrong move at the wrong time.” Greidinger said Cineworld and Regal, which it owns, will not change its requirement that theatrical releases play in cinemas for roughly 90 days before debuting on demand. Smaller theater chains have also been critical of the deal, which they believe will discourage people from going to cinemas.

Cinemark weighed in on the AMC and Universal alliance after reporting quarterly revenue of $9 million on a net loss of $170 million. The company also had diluted losses per share of $1.45. The company’s theaters have been largely closed during the coronavirus pandemic, but will start welcoming back guests in a major way this month.

“We look forward to reopening our theaters in a big scale way,” Zoradi told investors.