April 28 (Reuters) - AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, the world's largest movie theater operator, said on Tuesday it would no longer play any Universal Studios films in any of its theaters globally.
This comes after the Wall Street Journal quoted NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Jeff Shell as saying on.wsj.com/35cWMQQ he expects to release movies simultaneously in theaters and direct-to-home formats.
Universal Studios is owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corp. AMC has 1,000 theaters across the globe.
"AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies," AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a letter addressed to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley.
With movie theaters worldwide shuttered since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, AMC said the action was effective from Tuesday and would apply as and when its theaters reopen.
A Universal spokesman did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Major film releases have been postponed as theaters across the United States have shut down as part of the preventive measures taken to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The three main movie theater chains - AMC, Regal and Cinemark - have said they do not expect to reopen until late June or July.
Some films, including Universal Pictures animated "Trolls World Tour," have been released directly to streaming platforms or video on demand. Universal will do the same with the upcoming Judd Apatow comedy "The King of Staten Island". (Reporting by Shanti S Nair and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)