Universal Films Banned From AMC Theaters Following Trolls Success

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AMC vows to ban Universal films from their theaters following Trolls’ success

Everyone loves some good drama, right? Well, apparently, according to The Hollywood Reporter, AMC has decided to go ahead and ban all future Universal films from their theaters after NBCUniversal CEO’s recent comments about releasing films straight to VOD following the success of Trolls: World Tour. Click here to purchase Trolls World Tour on Premium VOD!

“The results for Trolls World Tour have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told the Wall Street Journal. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

For those unaware, Universal decided to release Trolls: World Tour straight to VOD rather than delay the release date in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the animated sequel has amassed some $100 million in rental fees, though that could just be due to the current circumstances.

Even so, the comments made by Shell didn’t sit well with AMC Theaters chair-CEO Adam Aron, who proclaimed in a letter written to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Donna Langley:

“It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice. Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes. Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.”

Universal issued the following response…

“Our goal in releasing Trolls: World Tour on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing Trolls: World Tour, which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear. Our desire has always been to efficiently deliver entertainment to as wide an audience as possible. We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary. As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners but are disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.”

Of course, Aron also wrote that he’s willing to sit down and discuss different window strategies and different economic models with Universal. So, in other words, this could all blow over just as quickly as it started. Or, this could be the beginning of an outright war as other studios have deiced to release films straight to VOD as well. Recently, Warner Bros. decided to unveil Scoob! to home audiences on May 15 — except this title will be available to rent and buy. Zoinks!

RELATED: Trolls World Tour Review

Trolls World Tour will continue to follow Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake’s characters Queen Poppy and Branch as they go on an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder.

A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.

The musical comedy-adventure film will be featuring an all-star cast as members of different musical tribes including Mary J. Blige, George Clinton, and Anderson Paak as trolls from the land of Funk music; Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory from the land of Country music; J Balvin as a troll that represents Reggaeton; Ester Dean as a troll from the Pop tribe; Anthony Ramos as a troll that brings the beat in Techno; Jamie Dornan as the smooth-playing Jazz troll; World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart; Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical; Kenan Thompson raps as a hip-hop newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond; and South Korean superstars Red Velvet consists of Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy and Yeri as representatives of K-Pop trolls.

Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who co-directed the first film with Mike Mitchell that earned $340 million worldwide.

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