AMC says it won't show any Universal films after 'Trolls World Tour' went straight to homes

'Trolls' went straight to homes. Movie theaters are fuming.
Posted at 12:06 PM, Apr 29, 2020

The most controversial movie of the year is ... "Trolls World Tour"?

As innocuous as the rainbow-colored, music-blaring animated movie may seem, the digital release into homes of "Trolls World Tour" has caused a tempestuous storm to course through the movie industry.

Universal is calling the "Trolls World Tour" digital release a success and suggests it may be the beginning of a sea change in how movies are released.

Theater owners strenuously disagree.

AMC Theaters, the largest chain in the United States, is signaling an all-out war, saying it will refuse to play Universal movies.

AMC said that it understood the move despite the two companies' "longstanding business practices."

However, citing a quote from NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell in the Wall Street Journal in which he said the "Trolls World Tour" performance exceeded expectations and "as soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats," AMC said it will no longer license any of the studio's films in its theaters worldwide.

AMC called Universal's move to simultaneous at-home and theater release a "radical change" and said it "represents nothing but downside for us and is categorically unacceptable."

The change goes into effect immediately and as theaters reopen, AMC said in its release.

AMC said its decision "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."

AMC executives would be willing to sit down with Universal to discuss strategies and models, the company said, "but in the absence of such discussions… our decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end."