August 4 2018

Studio Ownership of Theaters to be Reviewed

It seems that the Department of Justice thinks it may be time to reexamine a Supreme Court ruling that ended studio ownership of theaters.

In 1948 the DoJ brought a case against ‘block booking’ by studios. This was a practice that required a theater to show a certain number of B-films in order to get the big titles. It was also decided in this case that studios should be forced to see their ownership stakes in theaters. This was the beginning of the end for the infamous ‘studio system’ that dominated Hollywood for decades and saw the studios controlling films from beginning to end.

On Thursday the DoJ announced that it is time to reexamine these rulings as so much has changed in the film industry. “The Paramount Decrees have been on the books with no sunset provisions since 1949. Much has changed in the motion picture industry since that time,” said Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement. “It is high time that these and other legacy judgments are examined to determine whether they still serve to protect competition.”

Despite rising revenues, actual theater attendance has been on a steady decline since 2002. Something has got to give in the industry as more and more distractions fight for our time. This, however, I don’t feel, would cause any sort of rapid shift. You have to remember how many theater chains already exist. The studios will fight it out for stand-alone and smaller chains first, but don’t expect any of them to swoop in and try to pick up AMC on day one.

As industries change, so should some of the old rulings. I’m not saying switching this must happen, but I do think a reexamination after 70 years makes complete sense.

Source: The Wrap .

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