Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 14, 2011 – Moviegoers seek out art house cinemas to watch unique and rare films that are usually not played at the big chain movie theatres. These independent theaters typically balance special movies with some of the big blockbusters to make the finances work. In Palm Desert, California a dispute is brewing between the Palme d’Or movie theatre and Cinemark’s 15-screen River Cinema a few minutes away in Rancho Mirage. The lawsuit alleges that Cinemark is practicing circuit dealing, wherein a theater chain uses its size and power to block distributors from booking films at rival movie theaters.
“The Supreme Court banned this practice in 1948 as it hurts the consumer and goes against antitrust laws,” said Los Angeles entertainment attorney Anthony Spotora. “This case was originally dismissed, but on appeal it poses to be a very interesting examination of the movie distribution industry.”
Palme d’Or also accuses Cinemark of clearance, which is legal but also stifles consumer choice. Movie theatres, and particularly chain establishments, get clearance, or exclusive rights to show a movie within a two to three mile range. The owners of the Palme d’Or claim that in the past they were blocked from showing “Kill Bill,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Cinderella Man,” and “Valentine’s Day.” After filing the suit in 2006 some of the issues eased, but not all.
Cinemark, AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment, and Carmike Cinemas own close to 50 percent of the movie screens across the nation. They have allegedly strong-armed distributors to not play their films if other smaller movie theaters were also allowed to show the films.
“What is troubling is that one of Palme’s owners, Alise Benjamin who co-produced ‘Ray’, could not even get Universal Pictures to let them show the film she helped create,” said Spotora. “These disputes need to be heard by the courts so that the movie industry and the public know what is legal and what wrongdoing is being done behind the scene.”
Cinemark states that its business practices are in accordance with the law. Cinephiles just want equal access to independent films and must-see blockbusters, no matter if the city they live in is big like Los Angeles or cozy like Palm Desert.
Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C.
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Los Angeles, California 90067-2302
Call: (310) 556.9641