Early home movie test prompts Cinemark threat

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest movie theater chain, is threatening to boycott the release of Universal Pictures’ “Tower Heist” if the studio goes ahead with a test to rent the movie to home viewers for $60 a pop three weeks after its debut in theaters.

Cinemark says it is in its best business interests to decline to screen the film at its nearly 300 theaters, which operate under the brands Cinemark, Century Theatres, CineArts and Tinseltown.

Universal, a division of Comcast Corp., is aiming to make up for lost DVD sales. But theater chains are against new offerings that could cut into box-office ticket sales.

Universal announced Wednesday it would test the offering to Comcast digital cable subscribers in Atlanta and Portland, Ore., next month.