The arrangement does not impact the studio’s existing premium video-on-demand deals with exhibition. It does, however, shrink the traditional Pay 1 window — which was roughly 120 days prior to the pandemic — allowing the majority of its movies to land on streaming services sooner than normal.
Universal’s new model will begin with its 2022 slate, which includes Jennifer Lopez’s musical comedy “Marry Me,” the globe-trotting espionage thriller “The 355,” the George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy “Ticket to Paradise,” Blumhouse’s horror film “The Black Phone” and “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” Major tentpoles, such as “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and Christopher Nolan’s war epic “Oppenheimer,” are not expected to fall in the 45-day plan.
“As we continue investing in the most valued and sought-after content for Peacock, films are essential to that mix,” said Peacock President Kelly Campbell. “The team at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group are fantastic partners and we are excited to bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock as early as 45 days after their theatrical release, and provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year.”
Universal has been using the pandemic, which dramatically shifted the power dynamic between cinema operators and distributors, as an opportunity to test unprecedented release strategies to both maximize its own revenues and grow Peacock’s subscriber base. Two Universal movies, “The Boss Baby: Family Business” and “Halloween Kills,” broke industry tradition by landing day-and-date on Peacock, though most of the studio’s titles played exclusively in cinemas before moving to digital platforms. Established in 2020, Universal’s existing revenue-sharing agreement with movie theater chains, such as Cinemark and AMC, allows the studio to put its new movies on-demand after at least 17 days in theaters. Since the studio intends to deploy that method with its upcoming slate, movies will still be available in theaters and on demand while playing on Peacock.
Other Hollywood studios, including Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount, had already announced that, at least through 2022, new movies will have 45-day exclusive theatrical runs before debuting on their parent company’s respective streaming services.
“Prioritizing the theatrical experience and eventizing our world class content remains the cornerstone of our business,” said Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer of UFEG. “By ensuring our upcoming slate has both a theatrical window and timely Peacock debut, we satisfy the needs and expectations for key stakeholders across the spectrum, from our filmmakers and producing partners, to cinemagoers and Peacock subscribers.”