Congratulations, residents of Atlanta and Portland; you won't have to pay $59.99 to see 'Tower Heist' from the comfort of your couch! Faced with a mounting revolt from theaters owners around the country, Universal announced on Wednesday that it will abandon plans to screen the Brett Ratner comedy via on-demand services three weeks after its theatrical release. Exhale.
The controversial premium video on-demand service (the snappy PVOD for short) would have allowed Comcast subscribers in Atlanta, Ga. and Portland, Ore., to, conceivably, watch 'Tower Heist' with their family and friends over Thanksgiving weekend. The idea being that $59.99 for the film would be cheaper than bringing a family of four to the theater. Not a bad idea in theory, but stomped on in reality by theater owners and the media.
"Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future," the studio said in a statement.
The news was met with predictable applause from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO for short; not that NATO): "NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners' concerns and canceling the PVOD test it was contemplating," NATO CEO John Fithian said in a statement. "They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated. NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit."
Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, 'Tower Heist' will debut on movie screens around the country on Nov. 4.
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