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Universal Movies Could Hit Peacock as Early as 45 Days After Theatrical Release

The initiative to bring titles to the streamer won’t include event pics including next year’s ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Minions’ installments, or Christopher Nolan’s 2023 film.

By: Pamela McClintock, Senior Film Writer for The Hollywood Reporter

Original Article Appears The Hollywood Reporter

December 9, 2021 11:00am

‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ Ben Blackall / Focus Features

Following suit of its rivals, streamer Peacock said Thursday that most feature films from sister company Universal Filmed Entertainment Group could debut exclusively on Peacock as early as 45 days after their theatrical release.

The big caveat: Event pics including next year’s Jurassic World and Minions installments, or Christopher Nolan’s 2023 film, aren’t expected to be part of the 45-day crew.

This distribution model will begin with the studio’s 2022 film slate. Peacock parent company NBC Universal stressed that the new arrangement will maintain the film studio’s existing premium video-on-demand deals with exhibition.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Universal forged unprecedented deals with exhibitors allowing the studio to create a new premium VOD tier at 17 days for some films (bigger films have a longer window). Under the new tier, consumers can pay $19.99 to rent a title.

Every major studio followed suit in terms of making their COVID-era movies available in the home far earlier, whether via streaming or PVOD.

Disney has used its movies to boost Disney+, while Warner Bros. has made its entire 2021 slate available simultaneously in the home and on HBO Max. Next year, Warners will return to an exclusive theatrical window and make its films available on HBO Max as early as 45 days. Paramount and its sister streaming service Paramount+ also have announced a 45-day window. Peacock is the latest streamer to follow suit.

“As we continue investing in the most valued and sought-after content for Peacock, films are essential to that mix,” Peacock president Kelly Campbell said. “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.”

The films mentioned in the Peacock press release included the female espionage action pic The 355, starring Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong’o; Ticket to Paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts; The Black Phone from Blumhouse Productions, starring Ethan Hawke; Marry Me starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson; new movies from DreamWorks Animation including The Bad GuysDownton Abbey: A New Era from Focus Features; Ambulance, the breakneck thriller from director-producer Michael Bay; and Halloween Ends.

Summer 2022 tentpoles Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru will hit Peacock at some point, but not as early as 45 days (they were not included in the announcement).

Added UFEG vice chairman and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn, “Prioritizing the theatrical experience and eventizing our world class content remains the cornerstone of our business. 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.”

Peacock said in its release that the new expanded windowing structure demonstrates NBCU and UFEG’s continued commitment to the streamer.

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