Top-three domestic exhibitor Cinemark has announced newly signed agreements with five major studios that will allow Cinemark to exhibit those studios’ films theatrically.
These agreements—with Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, and Sony—will provide Cinemark with a steady stream of theatrical content in a time when release patterns are changing, with many studios opting for shortened windows or going day-and-date—for select titles, as has been the case with Disney, or for a limited period of time, as with Warner Bros. and their 2021 slate. Paramount and Universal have both begun a shift towards a 30- to 45-day window for major titles, with Cinemark already having signed a deal with Universal to play their films under shortened exclusivity last November. Sony, to this point, has approached theatrical exclusivity on a title-by-title basis rather than making any blanket changes to their release strategy moving forward.
Cinemark’s deals with each of the five studios have been negotiated separately, with different terms in play; these terms have not been disclosed.
Said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi in a statement: “Cinemark is thrilled to have reached new agreements with our major studio partners, and we are eager to continue providing movie fans an immersive, larger-than-life cinematic environment to see major upcoming films, ranging from the biggest blockbusters to specialty fare to family-friendly content. In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers. We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”
Cinemark’s announcement comes days after the news of their deal with Netflix to play Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead in theaters on May 14, two weeks ahead of its May 21 Netflix debut. This marks Cinemark’s first wide release of a Netflix title. Zoradi told investors in a March 2021 conference call that he would be open to Cinemark playing select titles from Netflix, Apple TV, and other streaming services, noting that “We would be open to a shortened window depending on what the financial terms were on that particular deal.”
The announcement of Cinemark’s deal with the five major studios—though it did not mention windows specifically—comes amidst a sea change for the industry, as exhibitors and studios coalesce around shortened theatrical exclusivity. Universal has signed deals to that affect with Cinemark, Cineplex, and AMC; Paramount has announced a 45-day window for Memorial Day release A Quiet Place Part II, with a shortened window to apply to major releases in the future; and Cineworld (parent company of U.S. exhibitor Regal) will be playing Warner Bros. titles under a shortened exclusivity window starting in 2022.