Judge gives even more control over movie theaters to Studios

Illustration for article titled Movie Theaters Cant Catch a Break as Judge Hands More Control to Studios

Photo: AFP / Stringer (Getty Images)

Movie theaters have been generously screwed by the global pandemic, and in the last blow, a federal judge has given the go-ahead to ax the 71-year-old Paramount Concession Decision, which should evoke horror of horror for the four of you who have idea what that is.

For the rest of the class: whow accurate are the Paramount decisions? Back in the golden days of Hollywood (1938, to be exact), the Department of Justice praised anti-trust action against eight companies: Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Loew’s, Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), Universal , Columbia Images, and United States Artists. Of these eight companies, Paramount, Loew’s, Warner Brothers, RKO, and Fox effectively had a film distribution cartel. Because they were studios that also had large movie theater chains, they could restrict which theaters ran their movies and free up competitors and indie movie theaters.

Fast forward to today, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ried that technological changes over the past seven decades mean that these decisions are no longer necessary. Torres writes that as “Internet movie streaming services proliferate, film distributors have become less dependent on theatrical distribution” and that some of the original studies such as RKO no longer exist. Torres also claims that companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney have since entered the industry and now not only produce, but also distribute their own films. Because these streaming giants did not exist in the early 1940s, they were not subject to the Paramount Decrees. “Thus,” Torres writes, “the remaining defenders are subject to legal restrictions that do not apply to their competitors.”

Torres also wrote that she agreed with the DoJ that current anti-trust laws and administration would be sufficient to prevent further anti-competitive practices. Because, as the DoJ puts it, why would studios work in cahoots to limit movie distribution to just a few theaters? Or these days, platforms?

You can now cry-laugh.

This is bad for al belle cinemas. Ticket sales have been decreases years, which is only exacerbated by the uncertainty of the film experience following the pandemic. Theaters should not only maintain safety measures and combat people’s legitimate health issues, but without the Paramount decisions, it’s only a matter of time before studios start testing how far they can push their limits. more like their monopolistic heidays.

Take blockchain and blockchain, as two examples of long outlawed business practices that can now see a completely legal resurgence. Block booking was when studios would force theaters to take a full slate of his films without the opportunity to watch them first, while circuit dealing was the act of threatening boycotts against the films of smaller competitors. Under the ruling, these would only be viable for studios after a two-year “two-year solar period”, although the concession decision as a whole has now been “immediately effective”.

The DoJ claims that these anti-competitive practices are stoned from an older age, and that the decision-making process encourages distributors and cinemas to become creative in order to tackle the rise of streaming platforms, video-on-demand, and changing consumer habits. .

Theater owners and creatives disagree. The Directors Guild of America enrolled statement against the termination of the Paramount Consent Decrets, where it stated that, “although the film and television industry has changed in the 70 years since the first decree was signed, many of those changes are being demanded – imitated by new tech -giant entrants – for greater, not lesser, anti-trust oversight. ”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, studios have been experimenting with offering new releases on various streaming platforms. Until safe seems to work. That success, plus ending the Paramount decisions, only encourages vertical integration, i.e. studios that have the platforms that distribute the content they create, and then load whatever they want. If Disney can make a kill off of release Mulan for a absurd extra $ 30 at Disney +, who is to say that they will not decide to follow the Netflix model of watching only a few movies a year in physical theaters? If studios previously restricted by the Paramount Decrees can now build their own streaming platforms, who’s to say they are not doing the same? The cartel theaters of old are back, only as digital wall gardens, which unfortunately do not see the DoJ as a problem.