Cinemark threatens to boycott 'Tower Heist' over VOD experiment


Image Credit: David Lee

The Cinemark movie chain is threatening not to show the Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy comedy Tower Heist in any of its theaters if Universal goes through with its plan to make the movie available on-demand in homes — for $59.99 — just 21 days after it hits theaters to roughly 500,000 Comcast subscribers in two cities. In a lengthy statement, Cinemark explains its position: 

It has recently been announced that Universal Pictures plans to offer the Eddie Murphy comedy Tower Heist to digital cable subscribers in the Atlanta, Georgia and Portland, Oregon markets three weeks after the film opens in theatres. Over the past year Cinemark has continually voiced its concern to Universal and other studios regarding any early-to-the-home “premium video-on-demand” during the theatrical release period, which averages just over four months. Movies are designed to be exhibited in today’s state of the art digital theatres which enhances awareness of the film and maximizes downstream distribution. Many artists and business professionals in our industry have expressed similar concerns about early-to-the-home premium video-on-demand offerings as evidenced by the Open Letter From The Creative Community On Protecting The Movie-Going Experience released earlier this year.

Cinemark recognizes and acknowledges the changing technological landscape and related challenges that Universal and the other studios are facing in the in-home window. Keeping in mind the best interests of the creative community, the studios, exhibition and the consumer, we have welcomed direct discussions between Cinemark and each of the major and independent studios, including Universal, regarding distribution concerns. Cinemark has urged Universal Pictures to reconsider its market test of this product. If Universal Pictures moves forward with its Tower Heist premium video-on-demand offering, as announced, Cinemark has determined, in its best business interests, that it will decline to exhibit this film in its theatres.

Universal had no comment.

Read more:
Universal to release ‘Tower Heist’ on-demand just three weeks after it hits theaters

Comments (76 total) Add your comment
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  • no thanks

    While an intriguing idea, I’m not paying $60 for a movie.

    • tomtom

      if u dont want to pay 60 bucks then watch it at the theatres.

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      • truheart

        Yeah tomtom, if you don’t want to pay $60 got to the movies and pay $12 for yourself. Wait a second, not to many people go to the movies alone. Ok, pay $24 dollars for you and your date. Wait a second, who goes to the movies with a date and doesn’t but popcorn or nachos or any snack. Well then , pay $24 for you and your date and then pay another $24 for popcorn and drinks. See, you could save a whole $12 by just seeing it in the theater. That the best deal ever!

      • BJG

        I disagree, Truheart. You don’t have to buy food and you can save a few bucks be seeing a matine. A couple can see a movie for about $20 and get a way better sound and screen quality that especially benefits action movies like Tower Heist partly is.

      • Yeah

        Agree bjg…I can get to a movie with my gf any time with discount tickets from Costco for 16 bucks. no need to waste money on concessions…we just go out to eat after.

  • Adam

    Who in their right minds would pay $60 to rent a movie?!

    • Jay

      Well, a family of 4 going to the movies (if they buy popcorn/candy and soda) would exceed $60…. so, there’s your answer.

      Oh, and hardcore smokers would gladly pay $60 bucks to be able to light up and watch a flick

      • Abe Froman

        You’d have to pay ME $60 to see another terrible Ben Stiller movie.

      • Julius

        Or dont buy your family those overpriced snacks! It’s not MANDATORY to get them EVERY TIME you go and see a movie

      • sm

        this is why we’re fat.

      • Emma

        there is no reason to drag Ben Stiller into this corporate madness. He’s funny.

      • Blister Herzog

        We live in a capitalistic society, which means that we vote with our mighty dollar. So if you think this is stupid, as I do, then just don’t contribute to it, and I assure you that it’ll never be attempted again. A movie at home should not cost more than a movie in the theatre, you’re getting lesser quality in both picture and sound; and if you are just interested in “saving the money” that would have spent in seeing this movie with your entire family, plus buying crappy food, then just wait 3 months until it’s out on DVD/Blue Ray. The quality will be the same, and you’ll only be spending a few bucks. Lets be smart here people, and not give willingly these corporations a reason to take even more advantage of us.

      • Bob R

        I agree with Abe – I wouldn’t may 60 cents to see a Stiller movie – and Murphy been just as bad for the past decade or so

  • tomtom

    exactly my point, thank u

  • irishyardball

    Uh… even when my dad, my 3 brothers and me go see a movie, we don’t spend $60. Anyone willing to pay $60.00 to watch that from their home instead of waiting 5 months to watch it for $1 at redbox has too much money.

  • Jpx

    First of all no one is going to see this film so who cares? Second of all no one would pay $60 to see any movie let alone a bad one.

  • Jenny

    For $60, Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy better be at my house making me popcorn and getting me drinks, then clean up afterwards. Heck, the dvd won’t even cost that much.

    • kat

      Hey thats a grrreat idea! Can I come over? Ill bring the ‘healthy stuff’ and I’ll even serve ya all and clean up to. As long as you get them there then its def worth the $60.00 if not more

  • Asha

    I can see Cinemarks point. Frankly I don’t think many people are going to pay $60 to see this crappy movie unless they are like the Duggar family and there are 2 dozen of them. I think this is going to hurt the movie, which seemed to have poor earning potential from the start.

  • Justin

    No families and no groups of friends are going to pay 60 bucks to watch a movie. Just not gonna happen.

  • Chonchko

    Wow…do people still go to the theater? And Hollywood hasn’t released a movie worth $60 in the last fifty years.

    • Peet

      I can only assume you are new to entertainment news coverage. To answer your question, yes, people do still attend movie viewings at movie theaters. In anticipation of your next questions, people still watch television shows on televisions and do (occasionally) read books as well. Hope this helps you out!

  • Jpx

    If I wanted to see it I would find a bootleg online..

  • CK

    Cinemark is on the path of making the same mistake the record industry and the book publishers have already made. Failing to adapt to new technology.

    Tower Heist is no Transformers or Batman. $60 is a good price point because it is prohibitive for the average movie goer, but for those of us with kids who need babysitting, it is right on target IF this was a movie worth watching at that price point.

    Deathly Hallows, Inception, X-Men, etc? Worth $60-80 for families, especially if you can pause, rewind, replay for more than one play through.

    • John

      Wrong! The movie theater business is still strong, making your post entirly pointless. Only a complete retard would support this, such as yourself. This will fail, you watch and see.
      Movie theaters forever!

      • CK

        Wow. Your clear, concise, mature response completely changed my mind. The ‘Movie Experience’ is not going to be replaced by Premium OD. It is just a way to supplement a movie’s initial income. People who’d consider paying $60-80 are the ones who can’t make it to the theater in the first place. This will fail because The Tower Heist is not worth it. Other movies? Yes.

      • George

        Yo dude, take a moment to chill and refrain from calling people you don’t even know retard, or any other name for that.

        I think that early-to-the-home release is a decent idea, but it’s a limited idea. Please keep in mind, they’re saying that the movie would be put onto the “on demand” system after 21 days of it’s release, and most of the people who REALLY REALLY want to see a movie, are going to see it in theaters.

        Problem is after three weeks, if you haven’t gone to see the movie in theaters by then, you probably weren’t interested in seeing it anyway. At that point, why would you spend $60 to see it in your home?

        Like a few people have said, this would be for large families who never have enough time to go out to a theater together, who want to be as loud as they want, and have a good time. I think it would be aimed at families with 5 or more individuals in the household.

        I don’t know, call me crazy, but does anyone else think that this experiment would probably only account for a FRACTION OF A PERCENT?

      • truheart

        Hey CK, what movies are worth $60? I’m not sure I’ve seen that movie yet. Will the actors come to my home and act it out? I want to see that movie. Please tell me more!

    • Breed

      Sorry, CK, but you ARE mentally challenged if you think $80 is a good price to pay to stay home and watch a movie. Rent a DVD for a dollar. You DO NOT HAVE TO SEE this movie this week, or next week, or the next. Just wait and save your $79.

      • CK

        Just because it has no value for you, doesn’t mean it has no value for someone else. As George said, a fraction of a percent might find it valuable. Everyone values their entertainment differently, according to their circumstances. Would I pay that for this movie? No, but I’d consider it for an ‘event’ movie like the next Batman where it can be a viewing party with friends and wine or beer and food. Where we can put kids sleep if they are cranky or MST3K it if it turns out to be a stinker. It would be a totally different experience. Why eat filet mignon when you can get 99c burger at McD’s? Because you can. You have a choice. That’s what this whole thing comes down to – choices for consumers.

    • LP

      I think Cinemark is right, and the other theater chains should follow suit. The reason there is an average 50% drop in weekend two has a everything to do with the closing window from theatrical to home. This won’t effect traffic to the must-see blockbusters, but anything without name recognition will lose business for the theaters. This kind of shady Hollywood business is why a bucket of popcorn is seven bucks. Than again, if this deal keeps your annoying children out of the theater, I’m all for it.

  • sv

    Why would anyone want to buy it for 60 bucks just to watch it in their home? Even worse, the movie just looks like a slightly different version of Ocean’s Eleven. Not interested.

  • Roger C.

    Why is Cinemark even paying attention? 21 days after a film comes out, who is paying $60 to see it at home? Ridiculous.

    • truheart

      By 21 days out there’ll be a good enough bootleg to see it for free!

    • sm

      By 21 days, “Tower Heist” will be on it’s way to DVD.

  • atlasmv

    I’d pay $60 in a heartbeat.
    Movie tickets in Chicago $10 (x 2 = $20)
    Concession stand = $10
    Parking $30
    Screen-talking, back-of-chair-bumpin’ movie patrons = Priceless (or worthless)

    I’d pay $75-$100. Have a few friends over EVERY WEEK for potluck and we’d be ahead of the game.

    Go Universal. Cinemark might consider hosting the National Buggy Whip Convention.

    • Bob R

      you have to pay for parking at a movie theatre? Damn that bites.

      Still, of all movies? This one? +

    • kat

      i vote you as #1 fan! ;)

  • April

    It would be fun to have a movie watching party. I would so pay $60 dollars to watch a movie that is currently in theaters, invite friends over, get a bunch of snacks, and beer. They should do that to more titles.

    • John

      Uh Oh! RETARD ALERT! Go ahead and support this because its aimed at retards like you

      • umadbro?

        John, you make an excellent argument. Compelling and rich. I’m so happy that we have up-and-comers like you in the world, ready to lead us into a new era of intellectualism and harmony. Who needs apostrophes in “it’s”? Nobody! And EVERYBODY knows that the best way to win any argument is to spew derogatory comments that may or may not be related to your opponent’s actual mental ability. Really, kudos.

      • Godwin’s Law

        John is Hitler.

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