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National Amusements Joins ‘Tower Heist’ Boycott

Sumner Redstone controlled exhibitor follows Cinemark and a host of other independent theater chains in refusing to show the action comedy.

National Amusements is the latest theater chain to refuse to show "Tower Heist" after Universal announced a controversial plan to release the action comedy on video-on-demand three weeks after its theatrical debut. 

That the early VOD release was consigned to Comcast subscribers in Portland, Ore. and Atlanta has done nothing to soothe exhibitors' ruffled feathers. 

Also read: Cinemark Threatens to Yank 'Tower Heist' If Universal Goes Early VOD

Cinemark and its nearly 300 theaters were first out of the gate, announcing last week that they would not screen the movie.

That was followed by a group of independent theaters such as  Galaxy Theatres, Regency Theatres, and  Emagine Theatres have also joined the boycott, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

"Under Universal's current plans for the premium video-on-demand release of Tower Heist, National Amusements has decided not to play this film in its theatres," National Amusements announced in a statement.

A spokesperson for Universal did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Negotiations are ongoing between the various theater chains and Universal, and there is some hope among exhibitors that Universal may reach a deal instead of losing millions of dollars at the box office. 

With over 950 theaters worldwide, National Amusements brings some heft to the table, but Universal already has major issues. The boycotters represent more than 12 percent of the estimated 39,000 screens domestically, according to Bloomberg.

National Amusements is controlled by Sumner Redstone, the mogul behind Paramount, one of the few major studio's that did not participate in last spring's early VOD offering with DirecTV. 

At the time, theater chains were outraged when four studios, including Universal, announced plans to allow DirecTV subscribers to rent a handful of films a mere two months after they hit theaters for $30 a piece.

The latest early VOD trial is even pricier. Renting "Tower Heist" will reportedly cost $60. 

Starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller and directed by Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour"), "Tower Heist" hits theaters on Nov. 4.