After drawing boycott threats from Cinemark and a few small theater chains across the country, Universal has decided that it will no longer release their Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy vehicle, Tower Heist, on-demand. The studio was planning on rolling out the comedy to Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta just three weeks after its theatrical release on Nov. 4, 2011 for $60.
Many theater owners thought that this decision would negatively effect theatrical ticket sales, and they threatened to not exhibit the film if Universal wouldn’t abandon its plan.
“Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future,” the studio claims in a statement released this afternoon.
National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian has already responded to the decision: “NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating.” Fithian continues, “NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit.”