Desperate times call for desperate measures. That’s how the National Association of Theatre Owners is explaining the digital success of Universal’s “Trolls World Tour.”
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the animated sequel to “Trolls” had been more profitable for Universal than the original because of its on-demand release.
Since theaters typically take about 50% of box office sales, “Trolls” only deposited around $77 million into Universal’s pocket by the end of its run in North America. For comparison, Universal retained about 80% of the digital rental or purchase fee for “Trolls World Tour,” which in three weeks has garnered around $100 million, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.
While that has given Universal confidence in releasing future films on-demand, NATO president and CEO John Fithian sees “Troll World Tour” as an outlier, not the new normal.
“Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a…