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Universal surrenders in row over video-on-demand

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 12, 2011 | 2 min read

A controversial plan to make the movie “Tower Heist” available to US consumers via video on demand just three weeks after it opens in cinemas has been abandoned by the film company.

A scene from the Ben Stiller movie

In a statement, Universal Pictures said that "in response to a request from theatre owners", it had decided to delay its planned premium home video-on-demand experiment.

The "request" from Cinemark, the nation's third largest chain with 3800 screens was the blunt statement: "If you do this, we will not show the film in any of our cinemas."

After capitulation, Universal added, "We look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future." The film company did not say when .

The plan was to make “Tower Heist,“ which opens in cinemas on November 4, available to 500,000 customers of cable firm Comcast, Universal's corporate parent, in two cities Atlanta, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon. The price was a stiff $59.99.

Universal stressed that the "Tower Heist" release was only an experiment -

but other chains also objected.

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