'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2' Dropped from Theaters in VOD Dispute?

NATO is fighting the newly established video-on-demand window that four major studios are set to utilize in the coming months.
NATO threatens to drop the last Harry Potter in VOD dispute
NATO threatens to drop the last Harry Potter in VOD dispute
NATO (the National Association of Theater Owners), which represents such huge regional chains as Regal Entertainment and AMC, is threatening to drop some of this summer's biggest blockbusters in response to the recently announced Video-On-Demand plan that is being utilized by four of the six major studios.

Universal, Sony, Warner Bros., and Fox are set to release some of their biggest titles into living rooms across the country just weeks after their initial theatrical debut for a rental fee $30 per film. This was introduced in the US last month, with the Ed Helms's comedy Cedar Rapids being one of the first movies to lead the way.

Of course, theater owners are upset over this, as the diminishing window between a major blockbuster's cinematic distribution and its home video arrival has dwindled significantly. This means that theater owners will be losing an untold amount of revenue in the months and years to come. In retaliation, screens under NATO are threatening to boycott upcoming studio releases, starting with Warner Bros. sure to be box office-gargantuan Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.

Some theater chains have even begun pulling promotional materials for films being released by the four major VOD supporters. But the studios in question aren't backing down. Sony's Just Go with It is set to make history by becoming the first major release to be offered through this new VOD service. Most theatrical movies are required a solid four month window between the time they are in theaters and the time they reach retailer shelves and VOD platforms. The studios believe that this is far too long to wait, and that it is hurting Blu-ray and DVD sales. The studios also hope that shrinking the video-on-demand window will reduce piracy.

Paramount Pictures has not joined the fray at this time, and many speculate that they will have the upper hand at the box office this summer because of their negative stance toward earlier VOD windows. The studio also has a strong slate of upcoming releases, which will make it one of the most lucrative studios of this fiscal year. Their schedule between now and August includes such sure-fire moneymakers as Captain America: The First Avenger, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Super 8, and Thor.

Walt Disney Pictures is also not engaging in this new VOD platform, but they haven't been ruled out as a user of this new service. They simply have not yet revealed what they're going to do in terms of shrinking their video-on-demand window.

How do you, the theatergoer, feel about all these? Is this the downfall of American theater chains as we know them? Or will there always be room for a Cineplex in your town?


Sources: Financial Times

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Comments (62)

  1. Boynightwing

    Theaters have every right to be worried. $30 sounds like a lot but if someone with a decent home theater gets a bunch of friends over, they split the cost and everyone brings snacks, they've saved a lot of money as well as hassle that comes from standing in lines etc. I agree that there are some movies that you HAVE to see on the big screen (like Harry Potter or Dark Knight etc) but there are a lots of movies that can be seen at home and those are the ones that will take all the business away from theaters who essentially make all their money off concession items. Nobody comes, then nobody buys snacks, then theaters close. :(

    3 years agoby @boynightwingFlag

  2. Anna ♥♥

    "NATO" loll
    "In retaliation, screens under NATO are threatening to boycott upcoming studio releases..." LULZZZZZZ

    3 years agoby @Anna-74732301Flag

  3. Dan

    I keep seeing the word NATO and thinking of the international 'peace keeping' organization :P

    3 years agoby @dan1Flag

  4. Lidia Diaz

    so what does this mean? I dont understand

    3 years agoby @Lidia-DiazFlag

  5. ejk1

    Much like the NFL labor problem, this boils down to rich companies thrusting the chests out as a show of strength. Oh, they say this or that, but when the time comes, will HP7 not be in theaters? Does anyone actually believe that? When push comes to shove, and the deadline(the real deadline, July 15, I believe, and not some arbitrary date like May 10) approaches, a deal will get done. A simple solution: NATO selects two films from each studio. These films are not allowed to be part of VOD. NATO agrees to show all the other films from those studios as well. Something like that will happen.

    3 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  6. Chris

    I hope this comes out in theatres I really wanna see the last chapter in IMAX 3D

    3 years agoby @unknown21Flag

  7. Worth5Bucks

    @Kazuma7314 good point, thats very true, this will allow them to higher quality movies even sooner without having to worry about getting arrested.

    3 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag

  8. Worth5Bucks

    the theaters are reacting just how they should. im glad to hear this

    3 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag

  9. CUPID

    YES!

    3 years agoby @cupidFlag

  10. Kazuma7314

    I'll kill someone if this really happens!

    3 years agoby @Kazuma7314Flag

  11. Kazuma7314

    Also who the hell would rent a movie for $30!! Only rich people but they'll loose money, Harry Potter for example. Budget: 200,000,000. Total in Rentals: $10,000. Yeah they'll loose money

    3 years agoby @Kazuma7314Flag

  12. Kazuma7314

    No! These dumbasses do realize people could obviously steal the movie and put it on piratebay or torrents!

    3 years agoby @Kazuma7314Flag

  13. Jakn

    NO!

    3 years agoby @jaknFlag

  14. Ryan Moran

    this better not happen i want to see those movies badly

    3 years agoby @nightwing18Flag

  15. Charli Sakura Weston

    tut tut tut yet destroy another chill out experience not amused

    3 years agoby @Charli-Sakura-WestonFlag

  16. Furankisan

    Going to the Movies is a social gathering among masses that can never be replace at home. It's an institution. But to destroy this because of greed. Guess what? How about making good movies and we'll all come out. If not then we CAN wait for DVD/BR release and send our money there or wait for Netflix. Or better yet, Free NYPL rental in 4 months time: ....So..
    VOD @ $30 = DOA......priceless...lol...

    3 years agoby @furankisanFlag

  17. Superman81

    yea i agree if the movie theaters pull this in protest its going to drive a lot of fans away, i know I am looking forward to several movies this summer and if Regal pulls this sh*t I will never attend another Regal.

    3 years agoby @superman81Flag

  18. The Boondock Saint

    ROFL! 30 F*CKING DOLLARS? THAT'S MORE THAN THE F*CKING BLU RAY!!! HAHA i'm not angry, i'd rather see summer films in a theater, but NATO needs to shut the f*ck up. at 30 dollars a movie, this is not the end of theaters, no where f*cking near it. if anything, more people will go to the theaters saying "sh*t, 30 bucks? I might as well go to a matinee for 9 bucks!" what f*cking idiot would buy that sh*t for 30 f*cking dollars. f*cking idiots.....

    3 years agoby @combatmadness360Flag

  19. ignitedspade

    Pulling a movie from your theater because of spite, is such an irresponsible idea. Not only is that killing the business you'll potentially have in general, but also giving this VOD service more business from all the people who wanted to see the movies in the theater in the first place.

    I don't think the VOD service will be successful with this anyway, I don't think any person with common sense is going to fork out 30 dollars to rent a movie at home, where they can go to the theater and spend 1/3 of that price. I know my experience is much better seeing a film at the theater. Reactions from the audience just heightens the experience.

    And 4 months isn't that long of a gap between theater and DVD release. I remember when I had to wait at least 7-8+ months for a DVD of my favorite movies to be released back in the day.

    3 years agoby @ignitedspadeFlag

  20. Josh

    @k-man@diaigma Well, a "meal" at most fast food places us about $6 to $8, which means at least $12 before taxes for a couple. And it's usually close to $30 when we order pizza (usually from coupons where you get wings or breadsticks with it). No, I wouldn't spend $30 at MacDonalds, but I can easily spend that much when I go for Vietnamese or a sushi buffet, which I consider essentially fast food. The prices may be higher here in Canada, but I didn't notice a difference when I was in the US last summer.

    3 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  21. Diaigma

    @k-man - I've seen burgers go as high as $6+, by themselves, at major chains lately, but like you, I don't eat much of that anymore. In and Out satisfies my occasional crave. And it's still priced very reasonably (::waits for a check::) :P

    3 years agoby @diaigmaFlag

  22. K-Man

    @diaigma - Agree with you on everything you just said...... I've never spent $14-$25 on fast food in my life. Then again, I dont eat fast food anymore but I'm pretty sure inflation hasn't risen that much in the past few years.

    3 years agoby @k-manFlag

  23. K-Man

    @shuabert - I agree with you about the theaters but couldn't disagree more about the record companies/legal vs. illegal downloading. But I'm not even going to get into that argument today.

    3 years agoby @k-manFlag

  24. Diaigma

    @shuabert - $14 - $25 for two? What "fast" food are you eating? :P

    A small popcorn is plenty for me, when in the mood, but I cringe when I think I could pop enough to fill a bathtub at home for the same price.

    3 years agoby @diaigmaFlag

  25. Josh

    Theatre concessions are comparable to other "fast" food places. You pay anywhere from $14 - $25 for two people, depending on how much you want, which is usually what I spend for me and the wife to go to MacDonalds or get pizza. It's just that people know how much popcorn costs to make, so the markup is more noticeable.

    But yes, @diaigma is correct that this is the ONLY way theatres make profit, which is why the prices are so inflated.

    3 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  26. Jez

    VOD will never be a success in my book if the side effect is high priced early release rentals and cinemas loosing out. For a start I would never pay $30 for a rental, I resent paying blockbuster prices already! If I like a film I'll always try and catch it at the cinema, then buy it if its really good. If the movie tanks, then the studio can only expect low sales, and high piracy, who would want to buy a mediocre (at best movie) at todays prices! And the part about lowering piracy by VOD, it will only be the opposite, it just gives pirates another access point for copying and distributing material earlier.

    3 years agoby @jdog1Flag

  27. Josh

    Not likely. Anyone who's going to see it in theatres is going to see it in theatres. It's people who don't care that much who are going to wait and watch it at home. It's a totally different experience and people want to go to the theatre for that experience, not just to see the movie but to see it on a huge screen with a lot of people. It's communal, and you don't get that at home.

    It's the same baseless argument that downloading hurts record sales. People don't download things they would otherwise buy. If they're going to buy it they're going to buy it. If they didn't have the option of downloading, they'd just listen to less music, not buy more.

    3 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  28. Diaigma

    @andrew-kosarko - I'll admit, those icees are hard to resist . . . but then I look at the price and come to my senses :P

    3 years agoby @diaigmaFlag

  29. Andrew Kosarko

    @diaigma yea dude - Nachos and a blue icee.

    3 years agoby @andrew-kosarkoFlag

  30. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    I always buy food at the movie theater.

    3 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag