As many have expected, it appears AMC Theatres has agreed with Warner Bros. to collapse the theatrical window from almost 90 days to 45 days when the studio begins doing exclusive theatrical releases again in 2022. And with that, it would appear the days of the long exclusive window in theaters is officially a thing of the past.
Speaking at the company’s recent earnings call (via Variety), AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron announced the new deal that will see Warner Bros. release films in 2022 through AMC with only a 45-day window before moving to streaming and VOD. This is similar to the deal WB struck with Cineworld (the parent company of Regal Cinemas) earlier this year. And this comes midway through a year where WB decided to release all of its films in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, drawing the ire of theater owners around the world.
“It’s especially gratifying that Warner Bros is yet again embracing a theatrical window,” Aron said. “For us at AMC, it’s especially pleasing to be working so harmoniously with Warner Bros. once again.”
he added, “We’re in active dialogue with every major studio on this topic. We’re hearing considerable support that an exclusive theatrical window is an important way to build a successful movie franchise.”
Obviously, just because WB made a deal with AMC and Regal doesn’t mean Disney and other studios will follow suit. But it does seem like the 45-day exclusive theatrical window is the way of the future for most studios. The only one that could possibly push back is Disney, but as Aron said, a deal has yet to be announced.
One important wrinkle to this whole situation is the still nebulous COVID-19 situation that is happening, with rises in cases and a slow vaccination rate in the US. If there are more shutdowns and restrictions on theaters, we could be seeing some more changes to the theatrical release situation than just a 45-day window. But it’s just too early to see if that’s going to happen again. For now, at least, it would appear that the new norm is the 45-day window moving forward.