Amid all the hullaballoo that seems to come with our current political climate, people are seemingly not paying attention to events or actions which impact the big picture. The Department of Justice is looking to repeal an antitrust law known as the Paramount Decrees. What are those? Well, here’s what you need to know.
- The 1949 Supreme Court Decision (which is closely associated with this law) decreed that production studios were not allowed to own their theaters on top of control pricing and when/how a movie was screened.
- The law also prevented “block booking,” which amounts to buying up all the screens at a particular theater.
As of right now, according to the “Wall Street Journal,” AMC, Regal, and Carmike own 1/2 of the nation’s 40,000 movie screens. If this were to proceed, it would all but destroy the indie movie scene and open the door for major studios and streaming giants to purchase their theaters to show exclusive content. Instead of looking to blow up a model that has worked for over 70 years, the law should be updated to reflex the changing times.
Instead of allowing major distribution deals to be forged, there should be consistency in how much a studio can get for their product. What’s good for Disney should also work for Gunpowder and Sky. As it stands right now, once this law is repealed, companies like Disney will buy theaters and screens which effectively will shut out their competitors. If equity is the name of the game, then create a ratio of the number of screens each studio should be allowed regardless of demand. This also would then allow for variety. This weekend alone, Frozen II promises to dominate your local cineplex. Remember, when that happens, a release like Marriage Story or The Irishman is shut out. However, as it stands right now, moviegoing is about to take a dramatic turn.