Why Defiant Theater Owners Are Refusing To Play Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I hate to say ‘I told you so’ to anyone about anything but when it comes to Disney these days it seems that’s all people can say sometimes. If you got a little up in arms over the title of the article I don’t blame you since it seems silly to refuse to show a film that people have been waiting to see for the past two years. But once you learn just why this is happening you might change your tune just a bit, I know I did. Disney is demanding that each and every theater that runs this film give them 65 percent of the ticket sales AND run the film for a four-week period once it’s released.

That might not seem like a lot to you or it might, but the average that studios usually charge theaters to run their movies is around 55-60 percent, so a hike of about 5 percent could mean a lot more profits. Take into account the number of theaters across the nation, and possibly the world, that will be showing the next Star Wars film and you’ll understand just how much that really amounts to. It all becomes profit at some point for Disney, who as we know doesn’t have enough as it is (notable sarcasm alert).

Honestly it takes a lot to make a movie and it takes a lot to run a theater. Giving over 65 percent of the profits seems ridiculous no matter how good the movie is supposed to be, but keeping it on for a four-week period seems a bit out of control. In this day and age movies don’t stick around for much more than two to three weeks at best, as theaters need to rotate films in an attempt to keep up with the constant shift in seasons and with the continuous stream of films that Hollywood keeps churning out. Asking a theater to hold onto a film for four weeks is a bit ludicrous as it pins down at least one or more screens for an extended period of time, making it difficult for a theater to gain any increased revenue from any added movies.

More than this however is the fact that if theaters don’t intend to go along with demands they’ll face a 5 percent penalty fee, which will bump up the percentage to 70 if they want to be obstinate. The challenge here is that no theater owner in their right mind wants to miss out on this movie, but paying this kind of money is just flat out insane. Disney is seeming like less of a family-friendly corporation and more like a money-hungry overlord that will keep asking for more because what they get isn’t enough to satisfy their greed.

There’s a serious imbalance in the dynamic between studios and theaters right now, and it needs to be fixed simply because the cost of the films will eventually be reflected in ticket prices and concessions, thereby passing the cost on to the consumers. If that continues to happen then eventually theaters will be going the way of movie stores it seems.

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