The good news, Universal has worked a deal with Cinemark to move new movies over to home entertainment in a shorter period of time. Variety said Universal will bring new movies to Premium VOD in only 17 days after being released to the theaters. This is a major step forward from the original 75 to 90 days it would take to get these movies to home entertainment in the past.
There are some exceptions, new releases that gross more than $50 million in opening weekend sales must stay in theaters for at lease 31 days or 5 weekends. That said, due to COVID-19, movie attendance does not have promising numbers. One example, upon the release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” it only grossed $9 million when 65% of theaters were open, even though the weekend opening did bring in $20 million. Over the coming months, it seems hitting the $50 million mark is going to be difficult.
The unexpected deal struck with AMC, earlier on, allowed the studio to move new movies to online platforms in only 17 days after their release to theaters. This is rather surprising considering Universal and AMC have battled over this since “Trolls World Tour” became available for rentals really shortly after its release.
Unfortunately, due to coronavirus still being active, movie goers and theaters are re-evaluating other options in order to move forward. Note – Universal’s new conditions with Cinemark will also be offered to AMC.
Keep in mind, even though new movies will go over to VOD only after 3 weekends, does not mean they all will. Top grossing movies like "Jurassic World: Dominion" and"Fast and Furious" are still expected to have longer theater runs. We won’t know everything for sure until a few months have slipped by.