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If you're a small or independent theater chain this is not the news you want to hear.
The DOJ is asking a court to end the Paramount decree, which has barred movie studios from owning movie theater chains since 1948 after the Paramount case (which ended the studio system) and set strict guidelines to studios selling their movies to theaters. The DOJ is arguing that the rules are no longer viable in the current media environment.
Looks like we're going back to the bad days of anti-competitive behavior by the majors. Guess Lionsgate, STX and MGM can kiss their butts goodbye.
Non-paywall article here.
Edited by Mario1995 on Nov 18th 2019 at 5:31:18 AM
That article has a paywall, unfortunately.
This should help.
How likely does this look?
Very, I'm afraid. Republicans already control the courts as it is.
Why would the Department of Justice even care about film distribution rights?
Media lobby, perhaps.
The issue has always been a matter competitive exclusion leading to harming the consumer, controlling all manufacturing and distribution leads to price gouging. Thing is, make no mistake but the studios have a majority stake in most of the theater chains anyway as well as the MPAA, which has a stranglehold on film distribution. With the launch of Disney+ we should be equally aware of corporate control of streaming services too.
Given the horizontal spread of media distribution due to the internet, removing that law probably won't result in utter chaos, at least at first. There is no monopoly that will stifle competition, and it's in corporate interests to work together rather than horde movies to their personally owned theaters.
The other thing is that you get a ton of towns that only have one theatre. What happens there? If the theatre exclusively shows stuff from Warner Bros, you're gonna get a lot of dead time or movies being shown well past the point when anyone cares. Warner Bros only released 20 movies in 2018, for example, 22 if you count rollover from the previous year. That's...really pathetic especially when the average theatre has six screens or more. None of the big studios release enough movies quickly enough to fill a theatre's slate completely. What's more likely to happen is that you'll get a few company specific theatres popping up in major cities or near relevant theme parks, with like, three huge screens, and not much else will change.
That won't be a problem once Disney becomes the sole distributor.
Lionsgate will lilely get squeezed and bought out by a bigger player.
When is the vote supposed to happen?
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