US judge puts an end to the cinema rules established by Hollywood studios for decades

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A federal judge on Friday granted the U.S. government’s demand to immediately end the Paramount Orders, a set of late 1940s-early 1950s antitrust rules that ended Hollywood’s monopoly on production , distribution and presentation of films.US District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan said the Justice Department “has offered a reasonable and compelling explanation” as to why terminating the consent orders “would serve the public interest in free and unfettered competition.”

Last November, the Justice Department decided to end the executive orders, promulgated after the Supreme Court in 1948 ruled that Hollywood’s biggest studios had illegally monopolized the film distribution and theater industries.

New rules have banned studios from unreasonably limiting the number of theaters that can show films in specific geographies.

They also banned “block booking”, which required theaters to show bad movies as well as blockbusters as part of a package, and the “distribution channel”, the mass licensing of films to consumers. cinemas under common ownership rather than theater by theater.

The Justice Department said the decrees were no longer needed after multiplexes, broadcast and cable TV, DVDs and the internet changed the way people watch movies, and because studios did not dominate. plus ownership of cinemas.

Three chains – AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal – control about half of America’s 41,000 movie screens.

Torres’ order includes a two-year “sunset” clause to end bans on block booking and circuit trading, to minimize market disruption.

Critics said rescinding the executive orders could threaten the survival of small theater owners.

The National Association of Theater Owners, whose members have around 35,000 screens, supported maintaining the ban on block reservations.

In a statement, he said Torres’ decision “simply shifts the enforcement mechanism to regular and existing channels.”

Another group, the Independent Cinema Alliance, said the termination could reduce its members’ competitiveness and cinematic diversity. He was not immediately available for comment.

The Justice Department has taken in recent months to end dozens of consent decrees it considers obsolete.
Business is US c. Paramount Pictures and US v. Loew’s et al, US District Court and Southern District of New York.

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