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UK cinemas said to have cut new home video window deal

30-Jan-2021 • Bond News

The window between a theatrical release and a home video release has, for decades, been 90 days. That deal between studios and distributors was put in place to maximize cinema box-office and the investment the distributors made in promoting the films for in-person attendance. When the pandemic hit, Universal removed that window altogether (and HBO are continuing this simultaneous release strategy), and have since renegotiated it from 90 days to 17 days with leading cinemas chains in the USA. 

Cinemas in the UK were still holding on to their traditional exclusivity window, which raised the prospect of some fans in the US getting a home video release within 3 weeks whereas fans in the UK would have to wait 3 months. Online piracy and grey market import of those US home video released would no doubt eat into UK attendance.

According to industry rumours this week, that is all about to change. Allegedly, cinema chains have agreed to slash the exclusive theatrical window down from 90 days to just 31 for most releases, or 45 for major blockbusters. These changes are reported to go into effect when the Coronavirus restrictions ease in the UK and cinemas are open again. 

The other impact of this change is that the prospect of high-priced PVOD rentals that usually exist after cinema exclusivity but before home video release has been squeezed. This gives consumers the choice between in-person viewing, premium rental, or owning a copy for their home all within a matter of weeks rather than months.

How this affects 'No Time To Die' remains to be seen, especially as the new October 8th date is by no means a certainty.

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