‘Trolls World Tour’ forces world’s largest cinema chain to cut ties with Universal

The CEO of AMC accused Universal of wanting to "have its cake and eat it too"

A rift between AMC Cinemas and Universal following the release of Trolls World Tour will mean the world’s largest cinema chain will not screen films distributed by Universal once cinemas reopen.

While outposts around the world have been shuttered due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Universal has released a number of films exclusively online, including Trolls World Tour and The Invisible Man.

The dispute follows Universal’s decision once venues reopen to release films “on both formats” (digitally and in cinemas), considering the “viability” of on-demand releases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres which also owns the Odeon chain, responded to the decision in a letter to Universal Studios chairwoman Donna Langley.

“AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” the letter began.

“It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us.”

Aron continued: “It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us.”

Universal issued a response saying the studio made “absolutely believes in the theatrical experience and made no statement to the contrary.” Trolls World Tour grossed $2.1 million at the global box office following its digital release on April 10.

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