Though there has been talk of movie theaters making a deal with studios to shorten the theatrical window, and allow movies to begin streaming two weeks after they hit theaters for a premium price, the biggest theater chain in the world says that deal isn’t coming any time soon.
AMC Entertainment CFO Craig Ramsey told investors Wednesday that the 90-day exclusive theatrical window, which has been in place for decades, is still the best business plan for theaters.
Ramsey said “we’re not seeing a lot of movement … it would be a stretch to say we’re negotiating around a solution,” in regards to any premium video on demand deal (PVOD).
With declining ticket sales this past summer (and AMC’s stock getting hammered), chatter about changing the theatrical model and getting movies to people sooner via streaming and “on demand” has increased. The major road block in that is the relationship studios have with major chains like AMC.
The studios still need the theater chains, as major blockbusters generate the majority of their revenue the first and second weeks they are in theaters. But after that, the box office tends to drop dramatically, which opens the option to get the titles to streaming. Could studios ever do a power play and just decide to pull their titles from theaters after two weeks and go straight to a PVOD without agreeing on a deal with the theater chains first?
Ramsey believes a move like that doesn’t help either side.
“I haven’t heard a lot of conversation about the nuclear option,” Ramsey said of studios going rogue with a PVOD plan, according to Deadline. “No one wins in that kind of a nuclear scenario. … The loser there is our guest, the consumer.”
Business Insider delved into the complexity of the PVOD issue in May, and it seems there hasn’t been much progress. The way Ramsey sees it, the weak summer is just a blip, and by the end of the year, the box office will be at its average, thanks in part to the certain huge box office “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will generate when it comes out in December.
“We’ve seen it before, moviegoing goes through some cycles,” Ramsey said.