You weren't the only person to scoff at the idea of Universal offering the upcoming action comedy 'Tower Heist' to residents of Atlanta, Ga. and Portland, Ore. via on-demand services for the high, high price of $59.99 three weeks after its release. Theater owners did too! Rather than show their disdain with snarky tweets and/or head shakes though, one company has decided to take action: Cinemark, the nation's third largest theater chain behind AMC and Regal, said on Thursday that it would not screen 'Tower Heist' in any of its 300 theaters if the studio follows through with its on-demand plan.
"Cinemark recognizes and acknowledges the changing technological landscape and related challenges that Universal and the other studios are facing in the in-home window," said the company in a statement (via LAT). "But that recognition apparently was not enough to support the test."
This isn't the first time studios have tried to close the theatrical window for on-demand gain: just this past spring, four studios (Universal, Fox, Sony and Warner Bros.) teamed for a test run of Home Premiere, which offered new releases on VOD just 60 days after their initial theatrical debut. (The traditional theatrical window is 90 days.) That service allowed consumers the chance to watch films for $29.99.
'Tower Heist' director Brett Ratner and 22 other filmmakers signed a letter to the studios in the spring that said shortening the theatrical window could "irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry." Ratner released this statement about the current plans for 'Tower Heist':
"Brett was made aware of Universal's paid video-on-demand experiment with 'Tower Heist' yesterday. [He] was told that the studio is fully protecting the theater owners against losses at the box office. Brett did not participate in the planning of this test."
Universal has yet to comment.
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