AMC Theaters bans Universal films after it boasts Trolls: World Tour made $100m on TV

Originally published at:



Ugh. I remember the interview the CEO (?) gave a couple of weeks ago, telling that they went from a multi-billion dollar sales figure to zero, worldwide, and were burning through reserves at an incredible speed. He suggested that they would need Gouvernement money to survive.

“Banning Universal” (I didn’t even check if that means what I think it means) seems… not a smart move. It looks like the last tremor of a dying … @mr_raccoon beat me to it.


I have been “disaster investing” as of late. Buying stock in industries hit by the pandemic with major losses in that are likely to bounce back when things clear. With the idea that they are likely to come back to January 2020 prices eventually. Put money in media, oil, airlines, booze… but no way in hell I am putting money in movie theaters.


Sure looks like movie theaters are fucked.

Even the sclerotic Oscars are allowing nominees with non-theatrical releases this year. The pandemic just nailed up the coffin a bit earlier, but apparently that’s not quick enough for the buffoons who run AMC.

It’s so bad that, while the studios now have the option to re-create the old vertical monopoly with theatre ownership thanks to easing up on anti-trust enforcement they can’t be arsed to do so.


The studio says it can make money in multiple ways. The theaters can only make money in one way. “I’ll completely destroy my business model to cause you a little economic pain” sounds like decision making of someone stuck at home too long.


Studios: “Hey, look! We don’t need to partner with these profit-sucking leeches after all.”
Theaters: "“Take your profits and keep them! That’ll show you!”
Studios: “Umm… okay…”


Yep, I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now. Movie theaters are dying, they’ll be mostly gone in ten years. Sure, there will still be the odd art house with a combo of independent films and older blockbusters, mixed with live performances. But the days of the first run multiplex are going the way of drive ins. We have movie theaters in our homes now. Massive 42" or bigger screens, cheap surround sound systems, streaming internet services that provide us a plethora of choices. Why would I pay $20 for tickets plus the cost of food, gas, parking and other inconveniences when I can pay $20 to see it at home and eat my own popcorn and not put up with the guy texting next to me or the screaming baby two rows back or the teen right behind me kicking his feet into my chair?

(re-reads what I wrote) And get off my lawn!



Just out of interest: did you discuss this with someone who actually works in investment?

(Only FTR, I would guess that especially large movie theater companies will rebound in about two or three years. Entertainment will be important to forget the misery, and people will want to have the shared experience, I wager. But that’s just my 2ct. I don’t have money to invest, really. The money I saved should go into a bicycle. )


This is a negotiation. Universal has set the ceiling, and AMC has set the floor. Now they will meet somewhere between the two, hopefully.

I enjoy going to the movies, and I hope theaters don’t die off.


AMC at least, seems to be leaning into it :confused:


I am also banning Trolls: World Tour from all of my screens!

With exactly the same effect on Universal’s bottom line as AMC’s ban.


Nah, I like doing it myself so I have nobody else to blame if it goes badly. Like all gambling, I only put in what I can afford to lose.

Entertainment is important but right now, but studios aren’t in production. So stock prices plummeted (especially Disney) but they will return when they can resume.

Movie theaters have been a dying industry for decades. They have had to consolidate, reorganize and find new ways to spark interest, but audiences filling seats have been on a downward slope for some time.


You’re better off…it wasn’t great.


if theaters give people a reason to come, like reserved seating, good food, alcohol for adults, arcades for kids they will do fine. Running away because they don’t want competition is not a good reason and neither is exclusive access to a movie for 3 months because it’s not like we don’t have literally dozens of movie and show options.


It’s also a remarkably dumb hill to die on.

This movie apparently costs around $100m to make. The first one basically broke even domestically with $150m box office, though it did better internationally and has supposedly made a lot post theater. Streaming and ancillary etc.

But anyway the story here seems to be that a film series that makes most of it’s money without US theaters, managed to (almost) break even without theaters? These things are money makers but they’re not huge hits.

AMC is gonna ban all the Universal movies that are much better for them over that?



Really spiteful move that won’t do them any favors in the long term. Dropping Universal when their movies are doing well outside theaters is only going to motivate them to pursue streaming services with more enthusiasm. AMC should’ve been putting in the effort to woo them away from streaming but here we are. GG


I don’t particularly believe that movie theaters as a whole will disappear, the main advantage they can offer is an experience you can’t get at home. I hate going to most movie chains but being in Austin we have Alamo Drafthouse which has good food and drinks, they often do movie parties/events like sing-a-longs or quote-a-longs, MST3K type of screenings with comedians, drag brunch with LGBQT themed movies, etc and i particularly love experiencing movies i love on the big screen. There’s really nothing like it and pre-lockdown i went there quite often.

I know most places don’t have Alamo Drafthouse but i have noticed theaters in other places have been trying to screen older movies more regularly which i think is a decent start.


I think the exception to the death of theaters are those (like Cinetopia and Alamo Drafthouse) that are more about the overall experience than just shuffling into a dark theater, watching the show and getting out. Places that have good food, good drinks, comfortable seats and a nice atmosphere were growing before the pandemic and will likely continue after.

Edit: Ha! @Grey_Devil As I was typing this I saw you mentioned Alamo Drafthouse!


I find that I enjoy movies more in the theater, especially comedies. I like laughing with other people. Of course now, those laughs could be expelling The Virus, so I dunno. Probably will rethink that calculus in the future.