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Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are negotiating a deal with Apple and Comcast to offer audiences digital versions of movies two weeks after their theatre releases, Bloomberg reports. The theater chain and studio businesses have been unable to reach a deal that would let studios distribute more expensive ($30+) digital movies to viewers at home shortly after their release in theaters.

Expand chart

Data: PricewaterhouseCoopers; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: Studios were hoping to work with the theaters chains on a revenue deal, but now seem to be charging ahead without their blessing, despite the fact that theaters still hold power distributing movies and driving revenue. Noticeably missing from the reported negotiations is Disney, which announced it would build its own entertainment streaming package in 2019.

Bottom line: The movie business is changing quickly and its becoming more reliant on digital distribution than ever (shocking). Cinema revenues are rising, but are being outpaced by digital video rentals and the DVD business is dying, as expected. "Theaters have to focus on providing an experience that goes well beyond what's available at home — hence all the focus on luxury seating, 4DX, live event programming, VR, and better food and beverage options," says Chris Vollmer, Global Advisory Leader, Entertainment and Media at PwC.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.