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[Slashdot] - It's Time for the Movie Studios to Step In To Save the Movie Theaters

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M.G. Siegler, former reporter at TechCrunch and now a VC at Google Ventures, writes: [...] It seems inevitable at this point that there's going to need to be a new path forward. And that path may very well be one that looks similar to a path forged at the beginning of the business. That is, studios owning theaters. People will remember that this type of vertical integration is what led to the Paramount Decree in the 1940s. The studios used to control not only the production of movies, but the exhibition of them and were forced to divest from the latter in the name of competition. As the above 400ish words should make clear: the world is very different now. And as a good bit of timing luck would have it, the consent decrees are being unwound. This doesn't mean studios will be able to partake in any kind of anti-competitive behavior, but it should mean they can own theaters again. Because, again, the world is a very different place than it was in the 1940s. One could imagine Disney or the like stepping in to save AMC. Perhaps with the notion that they would still agree to show other studios' films as well. But perhaps they would go above and beyond to showcase their own. Or maybe Disney+ subscribers would get a deal. Etc. And then maybe ViacomCBS (Paramount) buys Regal. Comcast (Universal) buys Cinemark. Sony buys Cineplex. Etc. Or maybe Amazon buys one of them. Netflix has already bought/saved a couple of theaters, perhaps that continues. Again, in that case, it's less about the theatrical business model and more about marketing. And you know who loves marketing just as much as anyone else? Apple. A decade ago, it would have seemed comical to have Apple potentially owning movie theaters. Now with all the money they're pouring into Apple TV+ and wooing the best Hollywood talent, it may seem downright logical. Imagine a movie theater that isn't a public restroom, but instead is a cinematic palace. You know, like they were in the old days. Certainly, those still exist in places. But the AMCs of the world spent the last 20 years wiping them out and screening films in their hollowed out carcasses. It sounds crazy to hope for a world where some of the biggest companies on the planet -- the Amazons, the Apples, the Disneys -- step in to save movie theaters, but such is the state of the world.

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