AMC Theatres Talks $30 VOD Service

The movie theater chain says DIRECTV's plan to air first-run movies will "threaten" industry's future.

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Last month, we got word that DIRECTV was planning to launch a service that would put first-run movies into homes. This would be huge to those of you with home theaters of all shapes and sizes. Of course, that kind of convenience will cost you — about $30 per movie.

Some consumers have been scoffing at the cost. (Hey, it’s better than Prima Cinema’s $500 VOD service, right?) However, someone that’s not taking the announcement so lightly is AMC Theatres. The company currently has 5,203 screens across the U.S. and Canada, and they want to keep them.

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“We believe the theatrical experience has a bright future, and we are aggressively investing to prepare for it,” the company said in a statement. “We are in the midst of a multi-year, multi-million dollar rollout of digital projection and 3D, IMAX and our own proprietary ETX format. We are also introducing a new guest rewards program, better-for-you items, enhanced food and beverage offerings, dine-in theatre options and alternative, engaging programming for our guests to enjoy in our comfortable, state-of-the-art auditoriums. All activities we are currently engaged in have common goals – to increase attendance at our theatres and maintain the health of our industry.”

AMC goes on to say that the upcoming VOD plan “threatens” that health. “As such, we have notified studios of our expectations regarding economic arrangements on movies that go p-VoD. It is not wise to discuss details in the press, and Company policy precludes it, but as these windows shrink and threaten our industry’s future, it is only logical to expect AMC to adapt its economic model.”

Regal Cinemas and Cinemark Entertainment have already taken a more proactive approach. As of April 15, both theater chains have put boycott plans into effect, pulling trailers for upcoming films from Warner Home Video, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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