Theaters must follow strict Disney terms to show Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Brittany A. Roston - Nov 2, 2017
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Theaters must follow strict Disney terms to show Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Theaters hoping to rake in some cash on Star Wars hype will need to follow a burdensome set of top-secret instructions in order to do so, according to a new report. Disney has reportedly passed on a series of terms that theaters must follow if they want to screen The Last Jedi, a move that some exhibitors complain is most severe they’ve ever dealt with. Among other things, Disney will reportedly get 65-percent of the movie’s ticket sales.

Disney holds a lot of power in Hollywood, and so it isn’t surprising to hear that it is throwing around commands. According to The Wall Street Journal, theaters must agree to a harsh distribution agreement that, if violated, will force exhibitors to give Disney another 5-percent in revenue. Theaters reportedly are also required to dedicate their largest auditoriums to the new movie for at least four weeks.

This leaves theater owners in a difficult position — they can choose to reject Disney’s terms, of course, but that would mean missing out on the money the new Star Wars movie will bring. At the same time, other studios have contemplated decreasing the amount of time their films spend in theaters, which are also struggling as more consumers choose to watch movies on their increasingly sophisticated home entertainment systems.

Disney, then, provides a sort of lifeline with its long theatrical durations, but one that feels something like a double-edged sword, at least based on statements made by some theater owners to the WSJ. While Disney movies bring in many customers and are vitally needed by cinemas, it is also laying down heavy burdens that some chains balk at.

Theaters have little else to do but accept Disney’s terms, regardless of how unfair or strict they may seem. As recently pointed out by Box Office Mojo, Disney movies were responsible for more than a quarter of the total domestic box office in 2016; it’ll be in the top slot by the end of 2017, as well. Its position of power grew stronger with the acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilm.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


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