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AMC Theatres Sets Condition for Shorter Theatrical Windows

CEO Adam Aron says company has ”backbone“ and will not agree to changes in windowing unless it benefits shareholders

AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron said the world’s largest movie theater chain is open to participating in a premium video-on-demand service, but only if there’s an arrangement in which the company is paid appropriately.

“With regard to premium video-on-demand, we have repeatedly acknowledged our discussions with our studio partners to increase the pie for studios and for AMC itself,” Aron said on a Monday afternoon conference call with analysts following the company’s first-quarter earnings release.

The theatrical window system, in which movie theaters have exclusive rights to show a film for a set period of time before it moves to home entertainment, has been under pressure recently as studios look to deliver content straight to consumers sooner, especially with most blockbusters doing the majority of their business within the first couple weeks of release. At the Code/Media conference in February, Twentieth Century Fox film chief Stacey Snider called the current state of windows “anachronistic.” And on the call, Aron said he believed there was an opportunity to provide a premium video-on-demand offering that would allow home consumers to watch new releases sooner — and most importantly, deliver more profit to AMC.

“Just as Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. said last week, we at AMC agree that there is a real opportunity to work cooperatively to increase the bottom line of movie studios and also to increase the bottom line of AMC,” Aron said.

However, Aron said he would not go along with a deal that wasn’t in the best interest of the company.

“At AMC, we have a backbone and firm one at that,” Aron said, telling analysts that if the company and studios could not agree on a new arrangement that made sense for both parties, AMC would “take actions to protect [its] shareholders.”

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