Universal will not be releasing 'Tower Heist' On-Demand


Image Credit: David Lee

After drawing boycott threats from Cinemark and a few small theater chains across the country, Universal has decided that it will no longer release their Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy vehicle, Tower Heist, on-demand. The studio was planning on rolling out the comedy to Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta just three weeks after its theatrical release on Nov. 4, 2011 for $60.

Many theater owners thought that this decision would negatively effect theatrical ticket sales, and they threatened to not exhibit the film if Universal wouldn’t abandon its plan.

“Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future,” the studio claims in a statement released this afternoon.

National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian has already responded to the decision: “NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating.” Fithian continues, “NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit.”

Read more:
Cinemark threatens to boycott ‘Tower Heist’ over VOD experiment
Universal to release ‘Tower Heist’ on-demand just three weeks after it hits theaters

Comments (32 total) Add your comment
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  • JDD

    A novel idea would be for the theater chains to work on making the movie-going experience one that is once again enjoyable. I can’t imagine it would take more money (and if it would, not much) to enforce what are supposed to be the rules of etiquette laid out in theaters.

    I completely applaud The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin for their no holds barred approach. And I applaud any other theaters who do as well. THEY will get my patronage whether the movie will be on my TV in 3 weeks or not.

    • fineturelove

      I effing loved this movie! I’m somewhat of a film snob, but dang this was so enjoyable and charming. It’s one of those movies I can see myself being able to watch again and again.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via Couga*ra.C óM ..it is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online.You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

  • Big James

    Who wants to pay to see that crap movie anyway?

    • c

      surely not intellectuals, like yourself, who use “crap” as an adjective…

      • Matilda


    • Tom

      HAHAHAH you got owned!!

  • Matt

    I’d much rather watch a new movie at home than in a theater but I’m not going pay that kind of ridiculous premium AND wait three weeks. I’d pay around $30-$40 but only if it was an option on the day of release. I could definitely see myself doing this for, say, The Avengers in May. I’d have some friends over like we do for UFC fights and the chip-in price would easily reach, if not drop below, theater ticket price pretty quickly.

    No lines. A small group of friends instead of a huge crowd. My leather couch and recliner instead of hard seats that would cramp a Victoria’s Secret model. Nobody talking on the phone, no one texting, no loud kids, no one bringing babies, better food that wasn’t overpriced, maybe some beer. All I’d really miss is the movie-sized screen but I still think it would be worth it. Like I said, though, day of release or nothing.

    Failing that, I only go this place called Cinebistro anymore. It’s nice to have a real lunch with real service at the movie, a comfortable seat, AND only pay $7.50 for the ticket.

  • Jim

    I want to see “Tower Heist” It looks like it is going to be a funny movie with Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy

  • AN

    I cannot imagine paying $60 to see a new release movie at home. I know going to the movies is expensive, but $60? Part of the reason I go to see a new release is to experience it with the audience. And Tower Heist is not at the top of my must-see list.

  • JT

    Sixty dollars??? Wait . . . excuse me while I get over these uncontrollable spasms of derisive laughter emanating from my shocked being. There could never exist a movie on earth that would cause me to spend that outrageous amount of cash to see it. What nauseating greed and audacity. Furthermore, I’m not even willing to spend AS MUCH for an on-demand movie, let alone MORE than the theater price. $60 to stream a movie–just because it’s brand-new garbage instead of three-month-old garbage? Hint: trash is trash. ROTFLMFAO! Now, whoever came up with these prices needs to hop back on their spaceship and head back for the Twilight Zone, because clearly they stopped off on the wrong planet.

    • Tom

      Wow..you people who say $60 is too much to pay for a movie that you can watch in your own home are obviously loners with no family or friends. $60 is actually cheap if you are viewing it with your wife and childrens or friends and neighbors. You get to enjoy the movie at the comfort of your own home and your own popcorn and drinks. Not everyone who enjoys movies are sad lonely people like you guys here.

  • b9

    While $60 may sound ridiculous to some, I would gladly pay that much if it meant that I didn’t have to go to a movie theater and be subjected to rude people on their cell phones, others talking through the movie or the 13-year olds who movie-hop and ruin everyone’s experience. Paying a ton of money to go and have the “movie theater” experience is no longer something I want to do. Until movie theaters are stricter with their rules and no longer allow the idiots of society to ruin it for everyone, then I will continue to watch movies on-demand in the comfort of my own home.

    • b9

      On a side note, Tower Heist wouldn’t be one of my “picks.” However, I would pay money for on-demand same-day releases of Oscar-level contenders in the coming months.

      • John

        Quit your whining. I cant so many people are going on about talking in the theaeter and cell phones. Its not going to make anything better so just shut up and DEAL WITH IT

    • JT

      If you need to see a movie so bad that you’re willing to pay $60 for a one-time viewing, you might want to spend that money on a psychiatrist instead.

      • SquarePeg

        It costs me more than $60 to take my family to the theater. There’s no theater in my town so we have to drive 1.5 hours one way to see any movie. I wouldn’t pay $60 to see a comedy, but an action movie I’d gladly fork over that and have the inlaws and friends over to watch it and save a tank of gas.

  • Tim Hampton

    I can’t imagine who would be willing to pay $60 to see ANY movie, even if it was before the actual theatrical release. Heck, even $25 for a Blu-ray copy (which I can watch as many times as I want for years, and usually has bonus features) is too much.
    B9, sorry that the theatres suck in your area, but I have never had anything but good times when I go and I have seen about 5 or 6 movies in theatres this year (the most recent being Real Steel this past Saturday).

    • John

      Finally, someone who still enjoys the moviegoing experience besides me.

  • kenneth

    There should be NO overhead price wise.
    Your already getting gouged by the cable providers for 50 millions channels you don’t need or want.

  • Bgl

    Most people are not going to pay $60.00 to see ANY movie even though a lot of people would love to have the option of viewing new releases at home. However, theaters better get a grip because eventually it is going to happen. There are a lot of people who love movies, but don’t like going to the theaters. I know they wouldn’t pay $60.00, but if the fee were lower they probably would depending on the film. Take a family film. My guess is a good many families would pay a fee to see a Pixar film at home just for the convenience. I do believe this will become a reality in the future whether the theaters like it or not.

    • John

      I sincerely believe you are wrong. A lot of people love to go to movies for the experience which cant be duplicated at home. Did Joss Wheedon make The Avengers for a tv screen? what about Christopher Nolan for the Dark Knight Rises? Of course not, they made it to be seen on a giant screen with the best visual and sound experience you could ask for. That is my arguement.

      • Jonah

        Exactly what experience is it that “can’t be duplicated at home”? Sitting with a bunch of noisy, obnoxious strangers who gab on their cell phones, talk over the movie, and who can’t hold their urine for 90 minutes? Um, why would anyone WANT to duplicate that experience?

      • Jose

        Why does everyone always use that scenario, whenever I’m at the movies, the audience members are the opposite of that and ADD to the experience of the movie. I understand that for some its a bad experience, but its not for others.

      • Bgl

        You are entitled to your opinion, but for many people going to the movies is a hassle and they don’t like the experience as much as some. I agree that there are some films that are just so much better on the big screen. I have seen Alien on the big screen and on DVD at home. Guess which experience I prefer? The big screen. But that’s just me. I know many people who don’t care where, or how they see a movie. They just want to see the movie. I know many people who would love to not have to leave the house to do so. I’m sorry, but I believe that there could be a market for this type of thing.

  • Eddie

    I’m surprised theater owners fought this so hard. Offering a movie that no one is really that excited to see in the first place on VOD for $60 is exactly the same as not offering it at all. No one in their right mind would have rented this.

    Besides, it may have even had the inintended consequence of making the theatrical run seem like a bargain in comparison.

  • Mr. Beepo

    This turkey will be on DVD by January.

  • Jose

    I’m actually curious, how do you get VOD, whenever I see lists of films on demand, the films are ones that I desperately want to see but will definitely never make it to my local theater (Weekend and Melancholia are two of them).

    How come theater chains got this upset over Tower Heist? Its been done before with small, independent features and they don’t raise a finger to object the VOD releases of those.

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