The studio said on Wednesday (12) that in response to a letter from theatre owners it would delay it planned premium VoD experiment.

The move was praised by the National Association Of Theatre Owners (NATO), whose president and CEO John Fithian said members appreciated the open dialogue with the studio.

Universal announced on Oct 5 that subscribers to parent company Comcast’s digital service in Portland and Atlanta would have had the opportunity to rent the comedy Tower Heist on demand for $59.99, three weeks after the theatrical release on Nov 4.

A statement read: “Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVoD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future.

“NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating,” Fithian said in a statement. “They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test, and while it was something that many theatre owners could not ultimately support, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated.

“NATO recognises that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit.”

Brett Ratner directed Tower Heist and Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy star.