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'The Black Phone' and 'Halloween Ends' to hit Peacock 45 days after theatrical debut under new deal

The new partnership between Universal Pictures and Peacock will take effect in 2022.

By Josh Weiss
The Black Phone (2021)

The film landscape continues to evolve with an exciting new distribution partnership struck between Universal Pictures and Peacock. Beginning in 2022, certain studio titles — like Simon Kinberg's The 355 (Jan. 7), Scott Derrickson's The Black Phone (Feb. 4) and David Gordon Green's Halloween Ends (Oct. 14) — could arrive exclusively on Peacock as early as 45 days after their theatrical and PVOD releases.

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

“Prioritizing the theatrical experience and eventizing our world class content remains the cornerstone of our business,” added Peter Levinsohn, Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “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.”  

This strategy is reminiscent of the agreement Warner Bros. came to over the summer with AMC Theatres. Instead of continuing its unprecedented day-and-date release model that was the norm for the last year, WB will allow all of its 2022 slate of theatrically released movies to stay on the big screen for at least 45 days before making their way to streaming or PVOD.

In July of 2020, Universal and AMC struck a deal that would allow certain movies to debut on PVOD as early as three weeks after hitting the big screen. 

“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said at the time. “The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”

“Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theaters in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world," remarked AMC CEO Adam Aron. "As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theaters will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn.”

Universal Pictures, Peacock & SYFY WIRE are all owned by NBCUniversal.