Universal Strikes Another Precedent-Shattering Deal With Cineplex

Universal continues to prove itself the most forward-thinking major studio in Hollywood.

Universal Cineplex Deal
Universal continues to innovate during the pandemic with historic exhibition deals. Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Cineplex, Canada’s largest film exhibitor, and Universal Filmed Entertainment Group today announced a multi-year agreement for theatrical exclusivity windows in the Canadian market. This new dynamic window agreement between the two companies preserves the theatrical experience, while adapting to changing consumer behavior, particularly as the world and the entertainment industry navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two companies are committed to creating a sustainable model for years to come.

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Similar to the historic agreements that Universal has established with other major exhibitors such as AMC and Cinemark, coming into effect immediately, the agreement guarantees at least three full weekends (17 days) of theatrical exclusivity for all Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases, at which point the studio will have the option to make its titles available across premium video on demand (PVOD) platforms, including the Cineplex Store.

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Under the terms of the deal, any title that has a North American opening weekend box office of $50 million or more, including franchise titles, will play exclusively in theaters for at least five full weekends (31 days) before the title can be made available on PVOD. Previously, franchise titles were required to play in theaters for 60-90 days.

“The pandemic has given the industry and movie-lovers around the globe a new appreciation for the magic of the big screen experience,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex.  “We are pleased to work alongside like-minded partners such as Universal, a studio that respects the theatrical window and is committed to the sustainable long-term health of the theatrical ecosystem.”

“With audience fragmentation accelerating due to the rise in digital, streaming and cord cutting, as well as the unprecedented issues our industry is facing right now, our relationship with exhibition had to evolve and adapt to the changing distribution landscape,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, UFEG.  “Giving consumers the flexibility to view content on their terms is more important than ever to help expand moviegoing, and Ellis and our partners at Cineplex allow us to increase these opportunities for our Canadian audience.”

The full terms of the deal are confidential and are not being disclosed.

Universal’s film slate, including titles from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation, has five theatrical releases remaining on the 2020 calendar: The Croods: A New Age (11/25), Half Brothers (12/4), All My Life (12/4), News of the World (12/25) and Promising Young Woman (12/25). In the last decade, the studio has managed to stay competitive at the box office despite the absence of any marquee comic book properties, routinely ranking among the top three studios in domestic ticket sales.

Universal Strikes Another Precedent-Shattering Deal With Cineplex