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Cinemark Threatens ‘Heist’ Boycott

6 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

No. 3 theatrical operator says it will not screen the Universal Picture’s action comedy if the studio releases it early on premium VOD

Cinemark Theatres Oct. 6 reacted strongly to plans by Universal Studios Home Entertainment to release action-comedy Tower Heist in the premium video-on-demand, or VOD, window three weeks after the film’s Nov. 4 theatrical release.

“Cinemark has urged Universal Pictures to reconsider its market test of this product,” Cinemark said in a statement. “If Universal Pictures moves forward with its Tower Heist premium VOD offering, as announced, Cinemark has determined, in its best business interests, that it will decline to exhibit this film in its theatres.”

USHE said it would make the movie, which features an ensemble cast, including Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, available to about 500,000 Comcast households in Atlanta and Portland, Ore., for $59.99.

Studios, including Warner Home Video, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Lionsgate and Summit Home Entertainment, all have experimented with releasing a limited number of movies into the premium VOD channel via satellite TV operator DirecTV.

Cinemark said major theatrical releases are made to be seen on state-of-the-art digital screens that enhance the title’s retail opportunities along the distribution food chain.

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