updated 09:20 pm EDT, Sat April 9, 2011
AMC, Regal refuse movies with 60-day VOD
Major movie theater chains AMC and Regal this week warned that they would punish the major movie studios for trying to offer movies on demand after 60 days. Both said they would not only refuse to run trailers for any movie available to stream under the $30 per title plan but would decline the movies themselves. The two also maintained a likely unfulfillable hope that the studios would say which movies are 60-day VOD titles to ban them in advance.
The theaters believe the movies are a direct threat to their businesses as they assume that large numbers of viewers would be willing to wait the two months and forego the theater image and sound quality for the sake of convenience. Regal CEO Amy Miles said it was "simply not in Regal's best interest" to be a vehicle for something that would likely hurt its core business.
Pressure exists to come to an agreement soon as the VOD plan may be ready as soon as late April with support from most of the major Hollywood studios.
The retaliation is ironic for the movie studios. They themselves have tried to punish Internet-based services for competing with traditional methods and have repeatedly asked Netflix for roughly a month-long delay or more from the DVD period to arbitrarily protect physical purchases and rentals. Those have had relatively little success as Netflix has led to the bankruptcy of retail-based rental shops like Blockbuster and a larger swing towards Internet streams. [via LA Times, image via Vicky Funes]