As theaters across the United States are starting to reopen, many for the first time in almost a year, Regal Theaters’ parent company Cineworld has announced that they will be opening up their theaters in the country in April.
That’s not all the news they had to deliver though, as they also dropped the bombshell that they’ve reached a deal with Warner Bros. that will provide Cineworld theaters with theatrical exclusivity for WB’s films in 2022.
As detailed by The Hollywood Reporter, the terms of the deal would stipulate that WB’s theatrical releases would have a 45-day window of theatrical exclusivity in Regal theaters in the U.S., with certain provisions.
In the U.K. the deal is slightly different, where the exclusive theatrical window in Cineworld theaters will be for 31 days prior to PVOD, and an extended 45 day window for films that open to a certain box-office threshold.
This is another huge shift in the traditional way of doing business between theaters and studios, something that Warner Bros. is now becoming well known for after their highly controversial decision to release their entire 2021 slate of films directly on HBO Max the same day as they release in theaters.
One of those films will be the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, which will be the first test of Regal’s reopening strategy, as they open up a limited number of theaters on April 2nd to coincide with the release of the blockbuster. They then plan to open up wider with Mortal Kombat on April 16th.
Cineworld’s reopening in the UK will wait a little bit longer, with the current plan to open their doors back up in May with government guidance.