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DOJ Decides Disney Should Have More Power


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The DOJ is moving to terminate the Paramount Consent Decrees, rules governing how film distributors are allowed to treat theaters. 


Basically, in the 1940s it was becoming a big problem that the major studios could bully around theaters. They owned or controlled 17% of the theaters in the US, accounting for 45% of the film-rental revenue. An antitrust case was brought, and the court set down some rules that have been in place ever since. The courts forced the studios to divest from the theaters and prohibited practices such as block-booking.


This move from the DOJ would mean that distributors could again own theaters, though there will be a two year sunset period on block-booking and circuit dealing.


While the consent decrees have indeed served their original purpose, their termination seems most likely to take power away from struggling theater chains, returning it to major distributors, at this point dominated by Disney. Given how tenuous the theater business seems to be, it's hard for me to see the consumer benefit in this.

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When I first started at my theatre job, we were called Famous Players. Until we were bought out by Galaxy/Cineplex, we were owned by Viacom. So I wonder if them rules only applied to the state run theatres and not in Canada. Although I don’t think any theatres up here are own by any major movie studio anymore. 

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