Last week, we reported Universal Pictures is planning to release its upcoming comedy Tower Heist through Comcast's VOD format, just three weeks after hitting theaters on November 4. Although this new VOD release will only be available to Comcast customers in Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia, four theater chains have threatened to boycott Tower Heist if this plan is enacted.
Universal's VOD platform for Tower Heist incites theater boycotts
Cinemark USA, Galaxy Theatres, Regency Theatres, and Emagine Theatres are vowing to shun the comedy release, along with several independent chains which control over 50 screens across the country. Here's what Rafe Cohen, president of Galaxy Theatres, had to say about the proposed boycott.
"We just feel it's a time to draw a line in the sand. This is virtually a simultaneous release that we don't think will be helpful to anyone. We're standing on principle that it's best to preserve the theatrical window."
Cinemark poses the biggest threat to Tower Heist as the nation's third largest theater chain, with over 3,800 screens. Galaxy Theatres controls 106 screens, while Regency operates 150 screens across the country. Regency CEO Lyndon Golin indicated his chain followed the precedent set by Cinemark, which was the first theater chain to threaten a boycott.
"We certainly support Cinemark. If their position is they won't run it, then we won't run it either. Movies shown in the home on such a short window is a dagger to our business."
Tower Heist will be available to over 500,000 Comcast customers in Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia three weeks after its November 4 theatrical debut. The movie will cost $59.99.
Tower Heist was released November 4th, 2011 and stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Téa Leoni. The film is directed by Brett Ratner.