'Tower Heist' Shuts Down Early VOD Program

Universal Pictures pulls the plug after theater chains threaten to boycott the upcoming comedy starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.

Universal pulls the plug on Tower Heist premium video on demand experiment
Universal pulls the plug on Tower Heist premium video on demand experiment
Yesterday, we reported several theater chains were planning to boycott the upcoming comedy Tower Heist, in response to Universal Pictures' "premium home video on demand" experimental platform. The program was to be tested in Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia, which would enable Comcast customers in those regions to purchase Tower Heist for $59.99, just three weeks after its theatrical release on November 4. Today, Universal Pictures announced they are pulling the plug on this PVOD format. Here's the studio's official statement below.

"Universal Pictures today announced that in response to a request from theater owners, it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment in which Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta would have had the opportunity to rent Tower Heist on demand just three weeks after its theatrical release on November 4, 2011. 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 National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) also released a statement in response to Universal's decision.

"NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners' concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated. 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."

Tower Heist was released November 4th, 2011 and stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, TĂ©a Leoni. The film is directed by Brett Ratner.



Sources: Universal Pictures, National Association of Theater Owners

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Comments (16)

  1. Nicholaus XX

    @thrashnasty190@bawnian-dexeus@Brizzy@fanboy -- You all get my imaginary thumbs up for summing up what I wanted to say.

    3 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  2. Brizzy

    Well done.

    3 years agoby @BrizzyFlag

  3. fanboy

    Great victory!

    3 years agoby @fanboyFlag

  4. moviegeek

    @Stansfield I don't think so. This will be a big hit.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  5. ChiRep_1

    Okay so lets put this in context, for the price of a movie ticket to see Drive, 50/50, Ides of March, Real Steel, Money Ball and idk Footloose I could watch one likely mediocre film from my couch? Yeah no sh*t this would bust.

    3 years agoby @ChiRep-1Flag

  6. Replicant

    I stopped reading after "$59".

    3 years agoby @felipe-11Flag

  7. incmob

    dumb move by universal. smart move by universal. But i doubt they totally believe that the two entities can coexist in some form in the future, unless the price drops for VOD. I admit the film has to be special for me to see it, i dont typically see every movie in the theatre, but i can wait 3-6 months to watch on dvd from redbox, for a dollar, instead of the 3 week window to watch it for a staggering 59.99... not rocket science as to how dumb this idea really was, and still is.

    3 years agoby @incmobFlag

  8. Stansfield

    it's going to bomb either way.

    3 years agoby @StansfieldFlag

  9. Jimthar

    and it's still cheaper just to go see it in the damn theater.

    3 years agoby @jimtharFlag

  10. Jimthar

    59.99 to buy it on tv 3 weeks after release or 20 bucks to buy it on bluray after it's dvd release. pretty f*cking easy choice if you ask me.

    3 years agoby @jimtharFlag

  11. slysnide

    Damn, no wonder NATO can't get anything accomplished these days. With these pitiful concerns :P

    3 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  12. Ghostman

    @bawnian-dexeus I strongly agree :D

    3 years agoby @ghostmanFlag

  13. MovieManiac

    Good. The VOD thing was a stupid f*cking idea anyways.

    3 years agoby @moviemaniac66Flag

  14. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    The people have spoken

    3 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  15. thrashnasty190

    Good call.

    3 years agoby @thrashnasty190Flag

  16. skywise

    Still not sure where i stand on the VOD debate but i admire them for taking a stand. At least they know where they stand.

    3 years agoby @skywiseFlag