Theater owners seem resigned to the fact that Universal will run a premium video-on-demand test of its upcoming film Tower Heist — but are determined to push back the date, now scheduled for just three weeks after November, 4 when it opens in theaters. Negotiations continue as exhibition companies link arms: Three small regional theater chains have joined Cinemark in refusing to book Brett Ratner’s caper movie starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller if Universal proceeds with plans to offer it for $59.99 three weeks after the debut to roughly half a million cable homes in Atlanta and Portland, Ore. California-based Regency Theatres, Galaxy Theatres and Detroit-based Emagine Theatres as well as some small exhibitors representing some 50 screens around the country have also refused to book the movie, the LA Times reported. Exhibition companies feel that they already swallowed a bitter pill earlier this year when four studios announced a deal with satellite broadcaster DirecTV to make some movies available via VOD for $29.99 — but 60 days after their theatrical debut. Theater owners wanted to draw the line at 90 days. Anything less, they feared, would encourage many ticket buyers to wait and watch hit films in the comfort of their living rooms.
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