By Dom Serafini
There are several scenarios for the streaming-cinema debacle that are feasible.
First, the movie theaters could start producing their own movies, and, after a run in their cinemas, give them to distributors to license them internationally. In the past, this was not allowed (see the “Paramount Decrees” of 1948). But in 2020, believing the antitrust restriction was no longer necessary, as the old model could never be recreated in contemporary settings, the DOJ issued a “sunsetting” (phasing out) notice.
Or, conversely, the movie theaters could start acting like the TV networks of the past, and pay around 40 percent for co-productions or commissions, thereby letting producers recoup the deficit internationally.
Third, the theaters could use free food (like popcorn and soda) that costs them only peanuts, as bait. Children, teens, and young adults would make a meal out of it: “Let’s have a free lunch or dinner at the movies!”
Naturally, all three options could be put into place simultaneously. Or, they could use one final option as a secret weapon: Leverage the government to break up the studios to get more leverage and options. It has happened in the past, courtesy of the movie theaters, and it is even more logical for them to use it in the present. Imagine the support theaters would get among producers, independent distributors, and politicians in search of a headline-grabbing celebrity cause, and… don’t forget the joy that will surely be felt on Wall Street!