Regal Entertainment isn’t banning any movie studios from its cinemas … for now. The theater chain’s parent company, Cineworld, released a statement regarding NBCUniversal’s decision to consider releasing films in theaters and on-demand simultaneously. While they didn’t go as far as AMC Theatres did, barring all Universal movies from their many theaters, they did draw the line. “Regal is not boycotting Universal nor any other studio,” the company tweeted Thursday afternoon. “We will continue our normal policy and play movies that respect the theatrical window, allowing movies to be released first in theatres prior to streaming or VOD platforms.” Regal’s policy has not changed, but it emphasizes the need to respect the theatrical window. If not, the film won’t play at Regal. In a press release obtained by the Wrap, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger called Universal’s decision to bypass the theatrical window for Trolls World Tour “completely inappropriate” and said it “certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency.”
“All our partners called us in timely manner and told us that in the current situation they want to shorten window for movies that were already released as cinemas are closing, most importantly, they all reassured us that there will be no change to their window policy once the cinema business returned,” the statement reads. “Unfortunately I missed similar message in Universal’s announcement … not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window – but Universal was the only studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released.”
Universal previously responded to complaints by reiterating its allegiance to the current model, but noted that execs were “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt” by theater owners to blackball the studio. (Warner Bros. and Disney also moved films to on-demand or streaming in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.) No one said the war between theater chains and streaming services would be easy, but a pandemic certainly didn’t help. As for right now? No movies in any theaters — but you already knew that.