More theatrical releases will come to home video sooner with Universal and Cinemark deal

Cinemark theater
(Image credit: Cinemark Holdings)

Universal Studios and Cinemark have inked a deal that will bring theatrical releases to on-demand services earlier than before.

As reported by Variety, the two companies have agreed to specific terms that will allow movies to premiere at Cinemark theaters and then release on-demand just a short period of time later. Back in July, Universal struck a similar deal with AMC Theaters, the largest movie theater chain in the world. That deal shortened the timeframe for theatrical exclusivity from 75-90 days to just 17 days, with Universal agreeing to share digital profits with AMC.

The deal with Cinemark, another American movie theater chain headquartered in Plano, Texas, says that all movies that pull more than $50 million at the box office opening weekend remain exclusive to the big screen for at least 31 days. If a movie doesn't meet that threshold, the deal allows Universal to release it on digital rental platforms. Universal's deal with AMC also includes a caveat to allow high-performing theatrical releases to stay exclusive to theaters longer, and Variety's sources say the same terms will now apply to both deals.

Of course, what this means for viewers is that they won't have to wait nearly as long to see most big movie releases at home, which is sure to be a benefit to those apprehensive to congregate in public movie theaters. However, there's no mandate to the deals, which means Universal can decide to hold out on moving a release from theaters if it's performing well.  This is just another step in the seismic shift toward movies releasing in a timely manner on digital storefronts, at an advantageous time for the global health climate.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.