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Movie release windows were a topic of interest on Cinemark Holdings’ third-quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday.
21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch earlier this fall caused debate when he suggested at an investor conference that theatrical windows imposed by cinema operators can be “crazy” as movies become available for home viewing with delay.
National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian shot back, saying: “Fox and its distribution team have long been and continue to be trusted and valued partners for exhibitors. Mr. Murdoch should be careful he doesn’t undermine that trust.” AMC Theatres president and CEO Adam Aron then called Fithian’s comment “condescending and gratuitous.”
Asked on Tuesday by an analyst if Murdoch’s comments sounded valid or crazy to him, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said on the call: “I wouldn’t categorize it as crazy. But I would say that at this point, we don’t have an interest in a day-and-date model.”
He added: “We’ll certainly talk with our studio partners about potential premium video-on-demand and determine what would be advantageous to both them and us.”
Zoradi, a former DreamWorks Animation COO, former president and COO of Dick Cook Studios and a former Disney executive, added that Cinemark was in “preliminary discussions” about that issue. Some industry watchers have said higher-priced premium VOD offers for home viewing with a shorter delay from the theatrical release could be one way for the industry to experiment with new windows.
“There are certainly discussions…going on with ourselves and various studios, but at this point I would categorize them all as very preliminary, so there is nothing to really discuss or announce at this point,” Zoradi said.
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