2017/11/07

The More Disney Tighten Their Grip

Piss Vader

Movie theater owners are up in arms over the terms of a top secret exhibition agreement that Disney is trying to force on theaters showing The Last Jedi.
"This deal is getting worse all the time."
Lando Calrissian's statement about his arrangement with Darth Vader could well be on the minds of theater owners, given that they reportedly have to hand over a record 65 percent of the ticket take from The Last Jedi to Disney. 
The contract to run the latest Star Wars film, which lands everywhere in just six weeks, also ups Disney's take to 70 percent if the theater puts a foot wrong on a number of counts, according to a Wall Street Journal report. 
U.S. theater owners are required to run the movie for four weeks without skipping a single screening if they want to avoid that penalty. They also have to run specific marketing promotions for the film exactly when Disney wants, and not a day early.
Having once managed a movie theater myself, I can understand why Disney's draconian exhibition agreement is making theater owners livid. The normal theater/distributor box office split is 60/40. Disney is not only flipping the ratio, they're threatening to reduce a theaters' take to just 30% if any of their fussy demands aren't followed to the letter.

FYI, movie theater profit margins are razor thin. That's why concessions are so expensive. The extra 5-10% of box office that Disney is gouging them for could put some theaters in the red.

Even worse is the requirement for each exhibitor to show The Last Jedi on their largest screens for a solid month. Theater operators have a formula that estimates their profits from exhibiting a particular movie based on screen square footage--to spare you a bunch of dry math, bigger auditoriums cost more to operate.

That's why a major new release will start its run on a house's biggest screens. If the theater is a modern multiplex, they'll debut a lesser hit on two screens. Major tent pole blockbusters open on three or four. After two weeks, most films get demoted to smaller, and a smaller number of, screens--usually half the number they opened on.

Theaters get new movies in each week. They need a steady turnover rate to free up their premiere screens for newer movies, which almost always translates to "more profitable". On average, showing the new Maze Runner sequel will be a more profitable use of theaters' biggest screens than continuing to exhibit a month-old Star Wars movie in the same auditoriums.

Because Disney's shakedown creates a perfect storm of a) historically low box office cuts for theaters, b) locking those historically low percentages onto their biggest screens for double the normal duration, c) keeping more profitable new releases from showing on the best screens, and d) increasing costs, it's no wonder that some theaters are refusing to exhibit The Last Jedi.

Well, the joke's on Disney, at least at my old theater where the biggest auditorium is haunted.

But wait, exhibitors aren't the only people Disney's managed to piss off. Thanks to the Mouse's tin-eared snubbing of the L.A. Times, several prominent movie review outfits are boycotting The Last Jedi.

Note to Disney: you're not invincible. When you've lost natural allies like The L.A. Times, The Washington Post, The A.V. Club, and Flavorwire, the cracks in your armor are showing.

I've been predicting that the upcoming Han Solo debacle movie will begin the Star Wars franchise's collapse. I may have to revise my timetable. In light of the fact that Disney is being hamfisted enough to shake down exhibitors and alienate the entertainment press, The Last Jedi may mark the beginning of the end for Star Wars.
"Does what Star Wars should be doing, but isn't"

15 comments:

  1. The L.A. Times is fishwrap, nothing more. That said, this spat between the critics and Disney is like watching a wasp land on a nettle. One of them is going to get stung, and I don't care who.

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  2. Disney is accelerating their own decline. The SJW infestation must be significant. They might have 1 to 5 years left of the Superhero Films before the audience burns out on the gradual infusion of SJW dreck and out-and-out boring in their films.

    Star Wars = Dead Celluloid Walking

    Killing the theaters this way is no different than Marvel killing comic shops by forcing them to buy 120% or more over what they need.

    And who owns Marvel? Hmmm.

    Starve the Mouse-beast!

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    1. "Killing the theaters this way is no different than Marvel killing comic shops by forcing them to buy 120% or more over what they need."

      Astute observation. Knowing comic shop guys and being a theater guy, I can confirm that your assessment is right on the money.

      Delete
    2. Marvel will be done after Infinity War.

      After their horrid treatment of Star Wars and Pixar I can't imagine Marvel will go any better.

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  3. They'll still make a bajillion dollars on the international market, like the last one did. It'll take some time to kill the beast. Han solo movie might do it though, based on how mucked up the process has been so far

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    1. One drop of blood at a time. The exponential starts slowly at first ... .
      Strive for the exponential when it comes to Disney.

      Delete
  4. The harder this bites them in the ass, the better.

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    1. Based on the seething hatred for Disney I'm seeing on Twitter, they're looking at rottweiler hard.

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    2. Whoa! Catching on, are they?

      "Never let the mark know you're sharping them, Mickey!"

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    3. Brian
      Hmmm and Murdoch wants to sell the Fox movie studio. I doubt that Congress will allow the sale. Even so given the hostility with Hollywood, it might be enough to kill Disney and allow the Deplorables to buy Disney and bring about a ressourcemwnt.
      In the meantime we'll see Disney puff up and go supernova.
      xavier

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  5. Movie theaters are basically in the selling snacks and drinks business, as they just break even (even at the old split) on the movies part of the business. If The Mouse gets its way, those snacks and drinks will have to become even more expensive to cover the loss. That will make going to the movies even less desirable, with people figuring that waiting for the movie to get on pay per view as the better option. So both the theaters and Disney stand to lose here.

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    1. Exactly. It's like the old saw about corporate tax increases. Theaters won't pay Disney's extra 5-10%. Theatergoers will.

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  6. What's so messed up now is that Disney announced a new trilogy with Rian Johnson at the helm. Also announced is a new streaming show as well. So not only are they going to milk the franchise into oblivion. They are going to do it in a much quicker fashion than anyone realized. What a waste of a once great franchise. Disney IS an evil empire.

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    1. Disney may be Evil, but they aren't stupid.

      I suspect that they foresee the general public tuning out the Mouse in the next 5+ years, and the suits are attempting to cash out where they can.

      Expect Star Wars, Marvel Universe, and other non-core Disnoid properties to go the way of the toilet in this manner.

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