It’s hard to find fault with Disney. Not only are their original properties wildly successful, but the studio also owns Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm LTD, three of the most successful sub-studios in the business with a veritable license to print money. But has Disney gotten too big for its red britches? It seems so. Even though ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ will most likely be the top movie of the final quarter of this year and possibly all of 2017, it should keep going strong into 2018. But Disney doesn’t seem happy with that and it seems that theaters– and their patrons– will be the ones to suffer.
First of all, Disney is demanding 65% of the revenue from ticket sales. The standard is 55-60% of domestic ticket sales and 40% foreign. (They got 64% for both ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’.) But there is also an additional penalty. Disney is demanding that multiplexes screen ‘The Last Jedi’ in their largest theater(s) for four weeks. If a certain multiplex fails to do so, Disney’s cut from all sales jumps to 70%.
That means if a certain theater wants to devote four screens to ‘The Last Jedi’ for opening weekend, they’re stuck running it on those same four screens for a month. If sales are sluggish after the initial rush and they decide to drop some screens, they have to cough up the extra 10% for Disney. That also means that for four weeks no other big movies can get shown in those bigger theaters, including IMAX and other large format screens.
This is especially crippling to small theaters in smaller areas. While most urban multiplexes have a dozen or more screens, in some small towns, theaters may only have two. That means that if they want to show ‘The Last Jedi’, they’re stuck with it monopolizing one screen for a month, with them unable to show any newer movies.
So theater owners are stuck having to decide whether or not they pay more to Disney just to show ‘The Last Jedi’ in the first place, they also have to wrestle with the financial hit they will be faced with, should ‘Star Wars’ ticket sales dwindle after a couple of weeks. Do they pay the extra 10% to Disney or do they just keep showing ‘The Last Jedi’ for the four week requirement even if it stops bringing in big crowds?
Some theaters aren’t standing for these demands and have simply decided not to show ‘The Last Jedi’, although an exact number hasn’t been released. It’s very possible that they could come out ahead by simply offering a bigger assortment of movies and switching them out, rather than taking the possible financial hit of showing this ‘Star Wars’ film.
What do you think? Should theaters simply give in to Disney in order to deliver this hotly anticipated film to the fans? Or do you support their decision to pass?
At any rate, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ will open in SOME theaters on December 15.
Source: The Wall Street Journal