Film Fridays – Disney lays down the law with strict demands for Star Wars ‘The Last Jedi’ screenings

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.

It’s an unusual clause, both in its duration (two weeks is more common for hit Disney movies) and its level of punishment — 5 percent of the Last Jedi gross could make the difference between profit and loss for many theaters.

Other blockbuster movies might give at most a 60 percent take to the studio, and even then the theater would usually get more after the first week or so. Internationally, a 40 percent cut is more common.

The Mouse House can issue these demands, of course, because it’s holding all the cards. While ticket sales for most movies are down across the board this year, Disney subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm are turning out reliable hit after reliable hit.

Put it like that, and Disney’s terms seem a little less onerous. Still, the Journal spoke to theater owners in smaller markets who said the economics of the deal just didn’t make sense for them, and they would not sign on for The Last Jedi. Why screen a movie for four weeks if everyone in your tiny town will have already seen it after week 2?

These are the breaks when you deal with an empire the size of Disney. They have altered the bargain, theater owners. Pray they do not alter it any further.

– Excerpt from an article written by Chris Taylor for Mashable. Full article found here

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