Tower Heist No Longer Coming to a Couch Near You

(Clockwise) BEN STILLER, MATTHEW BRODERICK, MICHAEL PE?A, CASEY AFFLECK and EDDIE MURPHY in "Tower Heist", a comedy caper about working stiffs who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them. After the workers at a luxury Central Park condominium discover the penthouse billionaire has stolen their retirement, they plot the ultimate revenge: a heist to reclaim what he took from them. Photo: Photo Credit: David Lee/Copyright: ? 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Universal had plans to make the forthcoming "Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy get revenge on Madoff" comedy Tower Heist available on video on demand in two select markets just three weeks after it debuts in theaters on November 4. Not very happy about this plan? Theater owners, who argued this strategy would eat into their profits and were threatening to boycott the film. (We're not sure how many folks in Atlanta and Portland would be happy to pay $59.99 for the chance to see Tower Heist from the comfort of their own home, but, hey, maybe there is an untapped demographic of agoraphobes who really like to watch Eddie Murphy movies with their friends.) Because of the pressure from the theater owners, Universal has, not that surprisingly, backed down and won't be releasing the movie on VOD so quickly. In a statement, the studio said it "has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment. 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." In other words, "You win this time, theater owners, but we will be back (to test the market for agoraphobic moviegoers willing to pay $59.99 to watch something on their TV)." [Company Town/LAT]