Universal Blinks, Scraps Tower Heist VOD Experiement
Buckling under the bruising blows of theater chains and independents who'd vowed to boycott the film, Universal has agreed to cancel its experimental VOD release of Tower Heist three weeks after the film opens on Nov. 4.
For what that's worth: In the end, the "experiment" involved only two cities (Atlanta and Portland, Ore.) and offered the Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy comedy in the convenience of your on home for the absurd price of $59.99. Not exactly the hill you wanna die on if you're Universal brass and theater owners including National Amusements and Cinemark have pledged not to book the Brett Ratner film on the premises.
"Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD [premium video-on-demand] 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," studio reps said in a statement. The National Association of Theater Owners issued a statement of its own that basically amounts to something like, "That's right, bitches," then immediately went back to purposely dimming projector bulbs for longer use and cycling the air conditioning between sticky-floored, bedbug-ridden auditoriums. Glad it worked out!