New Universal films will arrive on iTunes, other platforms 17 days after theatrical debut

Hollywood, the film industry as a whole, and the movie theater business have had to make some big changes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One such change just arrived, and it deals with theatrical windows.

The Wall Street Journal has the report on Tuesday night, detailing that future movies released by Universal Pictures will have a severely trimmed theatrical window, with a much faster plan to distribute the films onto digital platforms after the theatrical release. The deal between Universal and AMC Theaters will see new films release onto platforms like iTunes just 17 days after the theatrical release.

To put this plainly, this is a huge change, and one that has been seen as a major mountain to climb — one that production companies like Universal have wanted to change for many years now. Under the current rule, the theatrical release window sees a film being released onto digital platforms a total of 75 days after the theatrical run.

With this new rule, viewers will only need to wait just two and a half weeks to watch a film after it makes its theatrical debut.

Universal has been playing it fast and loose with its film releases due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, when things were getting bad, Universal had to make a decision: cancel the theatrical release of Trolls: World Tour, shelve it, and wait until later in 2020 or even in 2021 to release it — or release it directly onto digital platforms. Universal chose the latter and the sequel to Trolls saw a huge weekend release.

Universal also decided to bring its major releases that already were in theaters, films like The HuntEmma, and The Invisible Man straight to digital platforms as well. These films were technically still in theaters (the ones the were open), but if you forked over the cash you could rent the film to avoid the movie theater if you wanted.

Now, Universal and AMC Theaters have worked out one of the biggest hurdles for film release and now potential viewers only have to wait two and a half weeks to watch a new film from Universal. This deal was necessary because AMC had said in the past that if Universal bypassed movie theaters altogether in favor of a straight-to-digital release, AMC would stop showing Universal films altogether.

The Wall Street Journal points out that this new deal between the two companies will likely put pressure on other theaters and other production companies. This could result in a major shift for theatrical release windows if the other companies out there feel like they need to make a similar change.

What do you think of this news? All in favor? Let us know in the comments.