15 Oct 2020 2:09 PM

I guess it comes as no surprise following the decline of the major cinema chains, AMC and Cineworld which I mentioned in my recent blog 'The Last Picture Show - The State of Cinema', to hear that a major sea change to the distribution of films in the US has been announced.

Up until 1948, the major studios owned the cinema chains across America. So guess which films got shown on those cinemas? Their own naturally, and films produced outside of the major studios were effectively pushed out. In other words, Hollywood held a huge monopoly over the industry. The studios produced, distributed and exhibited their own movies. Governments throughout the western world are always worried when this type of monopoly arises, it is effectively Vertical Integration that restricts fair play and the loser is Joe Public who only has one source to go to for their product or service.

Well, things are about to change. Recently a judge in New York ended the decree that studios cannot own theatres, 'Judge Decrees Studios Can Own Theatre Chains for First Time in 71 Years - What Lies Ahead?'.

As noted in my previous blog the theatres are at present starved of product from the studios who are delaying just about all their major features including the new Bond film, ‘Dune’, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and ‘Godzilla v King Kong’. The only major film to be released into cinemas in the past few month was ‘Tenet’ which allegedly took a paltry $45m.

Sadly, both AMC and Cineworld look ripe for opportunistic takeovers and there is already a rumour that Amazon are looking at AMC.

So, as ever in these times, the rules books are being ripped up. On a final note I would say that this decision in the US does not look good for the independent theatres.