Why the end of the Paramount decrees is bad for movies and movie theaters: Opinion
On Friday, a New York federal judge approved a motion from the U.S. Department of Justice to end the Paramount consent decrees, which have dictated the movie industry's licensing rules for over 70 years. "Given this changing marketplace, the Court finds that it is unlikely that the remaining Defendants would collude to once again limit their film distribution to a select group of theaters in the absence of the Decrees and, finds, therefore, that termination is in the public interest," U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres wrote in a 17-page court opinion.
The landmark 1948 decision of the United States v. Paramount effectively ended the classic Hollywood studio system, forcing the major studios, including Paramount, RKO, MGM, Universal, Columbia, and Twentieth Century Fox, to divest from vertical integration. At the time of the decision, it was commonplace for these studios to own large swaths of theaters in the country, which they filled with their own output.
With the Paramount decrees, studios were ordered to get rid of their distribution arms or theaters, requiring them to sell their theaters to independent companies. They were also made to end the practice of what was known as block booking, bundling multiple films under one license, forcing theaters to take subpar content alongside major releases, and circuit dealing, which licensed a film to all theaters under common ownership rather than a theater-by-theater basis. These two terms have been given a sunset period of two years in the new decision, to allow theaters time to build new ...
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