Remember just a week or so ago when it was announced that Universal Pictures would be offering the upcoming Brett Ratner comedy, Tower Heist, to people in their homes via video on demand three weeks after its theatrical release for an astounding $59.99? And remember how angry movie theater owners were at the very thought of the plan, threatening to boycott the movie? Well, those angry theater owners appear to have won this mini–battle.
It’s being reported that Universal has canceled their plans to offer Tower Heist early. The movie was only to be available in the Atlanta and Portland, Oregon regions to test how well it worked, but theater owners were set to refuse playing the movie in their establishments altogether. It’s unclear exactly what caused the change of heart specifically, but this is likely the reason Universal decided not to continue on and risk losing a sizable chunk of first through third–week profits.
National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian said of Universal’s retreat “NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and canceling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated.”
This, of course, does not mean the end for those of you who were excited by the idea of watching movies on demand at home shortly after their theatrical release; Universal considers this just a “delay” and we can surely expect to hear more in the near future.