With Theaters Closed and Studio Films Going on Demand, Is Movie Exhibition Doomed?

”If it works, the world will change,“ analyst Rich Greenfield tells TheWrap about Universal’s direct-to-consumer release of ”Trolls World Tour“

As the world changes rapidly under the specter of a global pandemic, the decision by Universal Studios to obliterate the traditional window between a theatrical and video-on-demand home release with next month’s “Trolls World Tour” is another sign of a business shift that may have lasting consequences.

Could this mark the end of traditional distribution in movie theaters? With 4,000-plus movie theaters closed to the public nationwide and people shut in at home, the decision to release a family-friendly film through online streaming partners may seem logical. But many observers see the move — announced initially as a day-and-date simultaneous release at home and in theaters — as a significant step toward ending exclusive windows for theaters, a battle that exhibitors have fought for nearly a decade.

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Beatrice Verhoeven

Film Editor, Twitter: @bverhoev