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Universal fires back at movie theaters in latest salvo

by Sean P. Aune | April 30, 2020April 30, 2020 1:59 pm EDT

After seeing nearly everyone pile on the “We hate Universal” bandwagon, the film studio finally has something to say in return.

With the likes of AMC and NATO saying that Universal Pictures needs to respect the home video release windows and protect theaters, it was time someone spoke for the studio. NBCUniversal chief Jeff Shellspoke with investors on Thursday morning and had a long statement on the topic.

The question is, when we come out of this, what is going to be the model? I would expect that consumers will return to theaters and we will be part of that. I also would expect PVOD is going be part of that offering in some way. It’s not going to be a replacement but it will be a complimentary element and we’re just going to have to see how long that takes and where it takes us.

There’s no question that theatrical is some day again going to be the central element to our business in the film business. It’s how people make their movies and how they expect movies to be seen. The flip side is the majority of movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home and it’s not realistic to assume we’re not going to change, that this part of this business isn’t going to change like all parts of the business are going to change.

Even John Fithian, CEO of NATO, has admitted films aren’t going to see the same sort of numbers as they did last year.

The studios and theaters are going to need to talk this one out, but it’s clear that things won’t be returning to the old standard easily.

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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing