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Does AMC still want to ban Universal films?

AMC has not changed its mind on brining back Universal films

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In this May 11, 2005, file photo, people enter AMC’s Studio 30 theater in Olathe, Kan. AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.

In this May 11, 2005, file photo, people enter AMC’s Studio 30 theater in Olathe, Kan.

Orlin Wagner, Associated Press

AMC Theatres hasn’t changed its mind about banning films from Universal Studios, a move made earlier this year that was the result of controversy between the two sides.

What’s going on?

  • Earlier this year, Universal studios decided to release “Trolls World Tour” on digital release formats as well as movie theaters because of the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down movie theaters across the country, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.
  • Universal said it might consider releasing films on digital and in theaters at the same time moving forward.
  • AMC later said Universal films would be banned since it broke the business agreement between the two sides.
  • AMC CEO Adam Aron told CNN Business he has not changed his mind about the ban yet.
Yes, assuming that we can’t have discussions with Universal that solve our concerns. Remember that AMC has been showing Universal movies happily and profitably for decades. We didn’t change the status quo, and we didn’t actually have any protest about ‘Trolls’ at all. You didn’t hear one word of objection from AMC about ‘Trolls.’ We understood that our theaters were shut, that they have a business to run, and that they felt they needed to take ‘Trolls’ to the home rather than waiting.

Our concern is that Universal said that once theaters reopened, they were going to try to take movies to the home and theaters at the same time. It wasn’t ‘Trolls’ we were concerned about. It’s the movies after ‘Trolls’ that we’re concerned about. And if they take movies to the home and theaters at the same time, they’re the ones who are changing the status quo and they would make it unprofitable for us to play Universal movies in our theaters.

  • Aron said AMC and Universal are having active discussions about how the two can move forward. It’s unclear what the results will be.
  • AMC has a number of major films on the way next year, including “F9,” “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” 

AMC sparks controversy over mask decision

  • AMC has been dealing with a rush of headlines, too. The movie theater chain said it would not require masks when it reopened in July, hoping to avoid any political controversies, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • But the company later walked that back, saying that masks would be required for guests heading into theaters.

“This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks. At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisers, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. As we reopen theaters, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theaters. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests.”