Universal has seen resounding success for its decision to release Trolls: World Tour to VOD, grossing over 100 million dollars on digital platforms like Amazon and iTunes. So great has this success been that Universal CEO Jeff Shell announced the studio is planning more VOD releases in the future, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
This decision prompted all AMC theaters to ban future screenings of their films, putting the fates of high profile Universal releases like Jurassic World: Dominion and No Time to Die in question. Universal hopes that their future VOD movies will complement theatrical releases, seeing them as a supplementary option during the coronavirus pandemic rather than a replacement for movie theaters.
Shell had this to say about future VOD releases, hoping to ease AMC’s and movie theater’s concerns over their relationship with the studio: “[VOD movies are] not gonna be a replacement, but it’s gonna be a complementary element and we’re just gonna have to see how long that takes and where that takes us” he continued, emphasizing that Universal will always release movies in theaters, “There’s no question that theatrical will [always] be a central element to our business and film business, it’s how people make their movies and how they expect their movies to be seen.”
Shell hopes that Universal’s VOD releases will help the industry stay afloat. With the coronavirus’ effects likely to be felt long after this pandemic ends, hopefully a balance in the industry can be found, allowing audience members to keep seeing movies and help the industry to stay in business.