“Either PVOD simply will not happen in the U.S. anytime soon,” he said, “or, if it does happen, it will happen in a way that is agreed to by AMC and profitable for AMC even when taking into account cannibalization from people watching movies outside of our theatres.”
Under the latter scenario, there is a “probability, perhaps even a certainty, that we’ll come out ahead,” he added.
The No. 1 exhibitor reported third-quarter results after the closing bell that exceeded Wall Street estimates but reflected overall weakness at the summer and early fall box office.
PVOD, which would collapse the traditional window between films’ theatrical launch and debut on other platforms, is seen as a looming threat to the century-old theater business, putting a damper on stock prices in the sector. “We are aware that investors have been genuinely worried,” Aron conceded. But as the year has progressed, the threat has seemed less immediate. “As the largest exhibitor, we have a seat at the table. … It’s very hard to box against shadows.”
Nevertheless, as a hedge against PVOD, AMC said today it has hired a white-label digital provider to retool its main website to enable the streaming of full-length feature films.