AMC Theatres responds to multi-studio premium VOD initiative

amc-theatersMovie theater owners were given a shock a couple weeks ago when it was reported that Universal, Warner Bros., Sony and 20th Century Fox had joined forces in an initiative to offer premium pricing — $30 per rental — for Video On Demand access to new movies after their theatrical releases and before their arrival on home video. The National Association of Theater Owners responded quickly with a statement expressing its discontent over the move, and now the national AMC Theatres chain has issued a statement of its own.

The press release on AMC’s website first goes into some detail on the company’s plans to make theater-going a more attractive proposition for consumers. Upgraded projection equipment, an expanded guest rewards program, “enhanced food and beverage offerings” (please let that mean food will be cheaper), in-theater dining and alternative programming are all being either considered or integrated into AMC locations during a “multi-year, multi-million dollar rollout.”

The tone of the statement is largely positive and forward-facing, focusing on promoting AMC’s ability to thrive in this changing environment. That said, there’s the faintest hint of a threat in the statement when the focus turns to paid VOD. “The p-VoD world as currently defined threatens [AMC’s] health,” the press release reads. “As such, we have notified studios of our expectations regarding economic arrangements on movies that go p-VoD. It is not wise to discuss details in the press, and Company policy precludes it, but as these windows shrink and threaten our industry’s future, it is only logical to expect AMC to adapt its economic model.”

What does this mean? Well theater chains pay a premium to put first-run movies on their screens. It is likely that, if nothing else, AMC is pushing for lower rental rates to make up for the potentially lost business. Paid VOD won’t arrive until after a movie’s theatrical run has ended, but there is an argument that the very awareness of a movie’s earlier in-home availability will inspire some theater-goers to simply wait. NATO took a much more aggressive stance in its response following the initial announcement, going as far as warning studios that early paid VOD availability means putting high-definition copies of the latest movies into the hands of pirates that much sooner.

AMC almost certainly shares the outlook that this planned change isn’t good for business, but with the initial shock warn off, the response from one of the nation’s largest theater chains seems to now be grudging acceptance. It was inevitable anyway; as home theater setups become more and more elaborate, and for less money, theater owners were already having to start thinking about how to attract audiences who could just as easily wait a couple of extra months for a similarly high-end presentation in the more comfortable setting of their living rooms.

Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Movies & TV

First footage from 'John Wick: Chapter 3' has Keanu Reeves running for his life

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Curious about 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'? Here's everything we know so far

Despite some mystery surrounding Spider-Man's future after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters in July 2019. Here's everything we know about the movie so far.

Stream UFC Fight Night 143 for free with this ESPN+ trial offer

If you're looking for a way to watch UFC Fight Night 143 and other upcoming sporting events on mobile, then ESPN's premium mobile service has you covered, and you can even take advantage of a seven-day trial to stream it totally free.
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Movies & TV

How much does Netflix cost? Here’s a pricing breakdown of its plans

Wondering how much a Netflix subscription costs? You're not the only one. That's why we put together a quick-hit guide covering all the Netflix plans, whether you want to opt for 4K streaming or a disc-based option.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming service in 2020

NBCU is prepping a streaming service filled with its original content for a debut sometime next year, meaning that Michael, Dwight, and the rest of the Scranton crew might be moving to a new home.
Home Theater

Sling TV offers free shows, a la carte subscription channels to Roku users

If you are among a select group of Roku users, Sling TV has added free TV shows and the option to subscribe to individual channels without having to subscribe to the company's base level of channels.

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.
Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.
Movies & TV

You can get a screaming deal on LG OLED TVs just in time for the Super Bowl

LG is offering steep discounts on its critically acclaimed OLED TV models just in time for the Super Bowl, letting discerning viewers watch their favorite athletes with higher picture quality than ever.