AMC is ending its ban on Universal movies as part of a landmark agreement

 AMC theater remains closed on March 17, 2020 in New York City. Schools, businesses and most places where people congregate across the country have been shut down as health officials try to s
(Image credit: Victor J. Blue/Getty Images)

AMC Theatres is backing down.

The theater chain, which earlier this year announced it would no longer show movies released by Universal Pictures, on Tuesday reached a major deal with the studio to end the standoff, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

AMC's problems with Universal stemmed from the studio's decision to release the animated movie Trolls World Tour at home in April rather than waiting for theaters that shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic to widely reopen. The head of NBCUniversal later touted the film's digital success and seemed to suggest the company might consider releasing movies both in theaters and at home simultaneously going forward. That set off AMC, as theaters have always relied on (and insisted upon) being the exclusive place to watch a new movie for about three months following its debut.

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But under Tuesday's landmark deal, Universal is permitted to release its movies via premium video-on-demand a mere 17 days after they open in AMC's U.S. theaters. AMC would share the revenue from the film's digital release, writes the Reporter.

Going forward, then, moviegoers can watch certain new Universal films, potentially including blockbusters like Jurassic World: Dominion, without having to go out to the theater if they only wait an extra three weeks. The deal is "sure to send shockwaves throughout the exhibition industry," Variety wrote. If other studios strike similar agreements, it seems the coronavirus pandemic — and, improbably, a sequel to Trolls — may have just permanently changed the way we watch movies.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.