Universal goes to international market with release of 'Johnny English' on Facebook

Universal Pictures is extending its Facebook play into the international market, making Johnny English available through the social networking site in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom through its Social Cinema App.

Johnny English

Universal makes Johnny English (pictured) available through Facebook.

Facebook users will be able to rent the comedy, which grossed more than $160 million worldwide when it was released in 2003, for a 48-hour window for 30 Facebook credits. Renters can then pass a 10 credit discount for the film to friends.

The release coincides with the Friday U.S. theatrical release of its sequel, Johnny English Reborn. The sequel currently is a box office hit in the U.K. and Germany.

It's the first time Universal has taken its Social Cinema App to an international market. Universal previously released The Big Lebowski and Scarface to U.S. Facebook users.

Facebook increasingly is being considered as an online outlet by studios looking to disintermediate their content distribution.

Universal, which is owned by Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), last week ditched a plan to offer Tower Heist to subscribers in Portland and Atlanta for $60 just three weeks after its theatrical release, after theater owners threatened a boycott.

National Amusements Inc. and Cinemark Holdings, two of the nation's largest movies chains, threatened to ban Tower Heist, which stars Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, from all of their locations if Universal carried through with its plans.

For more:
- see this Hollywood Reporter article

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