Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest movie theater chain, today threatened not to carry Universal’s upcoming caper comedy Tower Heist over the studio’s plan to offer the movie on video-on-demand just three weeks after its November 4 release. The VOD test is being planned for two markets — Portland, Ore., and Atlanta — at a price of $59.99. “Cinemark has urged Universal Pictures to reconsider its market test of this product,” Cinemark said in a statement. “If Universal Pictures moves forward with its Tower Heist premium video-on-demand offering, as announced, Cinemark has determined, in its best business interests, that it will decline to exhibit this film in its theatres.” This could get interesting, especially if the National Association of Theatre Owners weighs in and brings chains like Regal and AMC along for backup. One thing is for certain: The nastier this gets, the more likely Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy will make a joke about it during the Oscars, an event being produced by Tower Heist director Brett Ratner.
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