Fallout in the exhibition industry continues over Universal Pictures' controversial move to offer its upcoming Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller comedy on premium video-on-demand just three weeks after it debuts in theaters.
On Monday, a number of independent theater chains including Sherman Oaks-based Galaxy Theatres, Regency Theatres in Calabasas and Emagine Theatres of Detroit vowed not to play the movie "Tower Heist" in any of their locations if Universal proceeds with its plans.
Additionally, many small theaters representing 50 screens around the country have refused to book the movie.
"We just feel it's time to draw a line in the sand," said Rafe Cohen, president of Galaxy Theatres, which operates 106 screens in California, Washington, Nevada and Texas. "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."
Last week, Universal said it would make "Tower Heist," which opens in theaters Nov. 4, available to about 500,000 homes in two markets, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., for $59.99 via video-on-demand. The announcement reignited a feud that erupted this year when four studios announced a deal with satellite TV provider DirecTV to make certain movies available in the home 60 days after they debuted in theaters for $29.99.