Universal And Cinemark Strike A Deal For Shortened Theatrical Window – Here's What You Need To Know

Several months after Universal Filmed Entertainment Group signed a deal with AMC Theatres, the company has now signed a separate deal with Cinemark Theatres with a different set of details giving movies a shortened theatrical window. Here's what you need to know.

According to Deadline, Universal has signed a multi-year deal with Cinemark, the third most popular movie theater chain in the United States (behind AMC and Regal). The new deal provides a 17 day theatrical window for every theatrical release from Universal and Focus Features, and if the movie opens to more than $50 million at the domestic box office, the theatrical window gets extended to 31 days. After those windows, Universal will be able to choose whether to take either type of movie to Premium Video on Demand, with Cinemark receiving a percentage of the money made through that revenue stream.

Deadline also points out that just because a movie is made available on PVOD, that doesn't mean it therefore must be pulled from theaters: the deal allows for bigger hits to remain in theaters for as long as possible and for both parties to try to make money on those titles in theaters and PVOD simultaneously.

The specifics of the financial split are not being made public, but Deadline evidently got an inside look at how the money is being divided up:

About 10% of PVOD revenues on a title have been set aside for exhibition. Of that share, AMC and Cinemark respectively get 15%-17% of that (which translates to between 1%-2% of the entire PVOD pot of which a major studio typically realizes 80% in monies).

"We are extremely pleased to further enhance our strong partnership with Universal as we evolve the exclusive theatrical window," said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi. "We believe a more dynamic theatrical window, whereby movie theaters continue to provide an event-sized launching platform for films that maximize box office and bolsters the success of subsequent distribution channels, is in the shared best interests of studios, exhibitors and, most importantly, moviegoers."

The terms of this deal sound very similar to the historic Universal AMC deal that was signed back in July. The biggest difference, as far as I can tell, is that in this instance, they're specifying $50 million domestic as a benchmark for "success" for new releases. The AMC deal operates the same way, but neither of the parties publicly released a number that a title needed to hit in order to cross that metaphorical threshold.