Regal has escaped a major anti-trust lawsuit brought on by a small chain complaining about unfair film booking practices that favour larger cinema chains. Major implications in an age when 35mm scarcity is no longer a reason for denying smaller chains film “prints”. This is bad news for Look Cinema and other small exhibitors.
On Thursday, just a few days after The Wall Street Journal revealed that the DOJ was asking questions about these types of arrangements, a federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit brought by Starlight Cinemas, the owner of a few independent movie theaters in California, against exhibition giant Regal Entertainment Group.
According to the lawsuit, filed in June, Starlight operates a state-of-the-art 15-screen movie theater in Corona, Calif., but has been suffering because Regal has been having more success licensing the blockbuster films from the likes of Sony and Universal. Regal operates an upscale 18-screen theater in Corona, but is advantaged by the fact that it controls approximately 575 theaters and 7,631 screens. So if studios wish to effectuate a “wide release,” they need cooperation from the likes of Regal. But according to the allegations, Regal demands exclusivity for that privilege. LINK
UK – It proved a short-lived victory for the staff of the Brixton Ritzy cinema (owned by Picturehouse/Cineworld), who won the right to a Living Wage, only now to be told that a quarter of them will be laid off.
Picturehouse Cinemas said that the cost of increasing basic wages at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton to £8.80 an hour would be absorbed by reducing the number of staff by at least 20, with a redundancy programme starting next month.
Two management posts will be axed along with eight supervisors, three technical staff and other front-of-house workers from its workforce of 93.
BECTU, the union that represents cinema staff, today described the move which follows a year of strikes and negotiations as a “kick in the teeth”. LINK