Cinemark Blackballs "Tower Heist"

In response to a plan by Universal to make Brett Ratner's upcoming film, Tower Heist (11.4), available On Demand just three weeks after its theatrical premiere, Cinemark has declared that it will not screen the film in any of its nearly 300 theaters nationwide unless the studio backs down on its plan.

While Cinemark has been a harsh opponent of studio day and date VOD release plans, this is a bit of an overreaction on their part. Tower Heist will available for $59.99 in the Atlanta and Portland markets, which according to the LA Times is only about 500,000 homes. No one is going to pay $60 to see Tower Heist, so I doubt it will affect the film's box office, despite what the theater chain would have us believe. I imagine it's more of a principled stand than anything else, but I do believe a shrinking VOD/DVD window will be in studios' best interest in the long-run, especially in efforts to curb piracy. A $60 price tag, however, is probably going to send more people to the theater (or to piracy), rather than inspiring them to stay home and watch the film On Demand.


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