Trolls World TourSource: Universal Pictures

What you need to know

  • Universal films will release on iTunes just 17 days after theatrical release.
  • AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures have reached a deal on the schedule.
  • This has moved the theatrical release window down from 75 days.

Your most anticipated movies may start to come to iTunes a lot faster.

Reported by The Wall Street Journal (via MacRumors), AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures have reached a deal that will allow films released in theaters to come to digital services like iTunes just 17 days after release. Previously, films had to stay in theaters for at least 75 days before becoming available on streaming services.

After Universal Pictures saw a major success with the digital-only release of "Trolls World Tour", AMC Theaters threatened to never show Universal films in its locations if the company continued to release films that way. This led to discussions which resulted in an agreement to shorten the theatrical release window.

During the pandemic, Universal had been experimenting with offering movies online while they're still in theaters, which AMC was not happy with. Universal's digital release of "Trolls World Tour" in the early months of the coronavirus was a success, earning more than $100 million in three weeks, and spurring the company to further experiment with digital releases ... Movie theaters have been closed, but AMC said that if Universal released new movies direct to digital platforms, it would not show new Universal releases. With the new 17-day theatrical release window, however, the dispute between the two companies has been settled.

The deal between the two companies, according to The Wall Street Journal, could result in similar deals between other companies to bring titles to digital release earlier.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this deal for shorter theatrical releases between AMC and Universal Pictures could put pressure on rivals of both companies to establish similar online release timelines. AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron said that AMC will have an opportunity to generate additional revenue by offering new Universal films on its AMC Theaters on Demand platform. New Universal titles will also be released on digital platforms like Apple TV and Amazon.

Currently, most films are seeing delays due to the pandemic. If more deals like the one between Universal and AMC happen, we could hopefully see some of these new movies hit the small screen sooner than later.