Universal Cancels “Tower Heist” PVOD Plans

So much for the great experiment. Universal Pictures has announced that they’ve cancelled plans for the premium video on-demand (PVOD) release of “Tower Heist” in two test markets next month.

Had it gone ahead, Comcast customers in Portland and Atlanta would’ve been able to purchase the Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy comedy for viewing at home for $59.99, just three weeks after theatrical release.

After the plan was announced, exhibitors were understandably upset with talk swirling that certain chains would skip showing the film at all in their cinemas because of the fear of ticket sales being undermined.

In an official statement, Universal says they “continue to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD 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.”

The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) also released a statement saying “NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated. NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit.”