Disney Has Strict Rules for Any Theaters Showing 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
It's entirely possible that, despite owning the brand and producing all new movies in the franchise, the Walt Disney corporation doesn't entirely understand the point of Star Wars.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney has announced that theaters must now pay 65% of ticket revenue to the House of Mouse, up from the current industry standard of 55%. It's expected that this will be Disney's new level of payment for all movies, meaning that theaters will now be forced to pony up more revenue than ever to the movie studio in order to show their movies.
What's more, Disney has decreed that any theater that wishes to show the movie (in other words, all of them) will be forced to book screenings of The Last Jedi on the largest screen available for four weeks after its initial release. If the theater cancels any of these bookings - even a single one - then they forfeit another 5% of all their profits to the Mouse.
Frankly, in the continuing saga of the struggle of the eclectic underdog heroes against a homogenous, greedy force of evil, Disney looks an awful lot like the Galactic Empire right now, especially when the company forces movie theaters to meet a series of costly demands if they want to screen what will likely be one of the biggest releases of the year.
Even if Disney does suffer from a dip in its reputation, the company isn't exactly worried. Disney movies accounted for nearly a quarter of all ticket sales last year, and with such a tight grip on the entire movie market, it's clear that the studio isn't exactly worried that audiences might start boycotting their films enough for it to matter.
For a franchise that regularly brings in a billion dollars in ticket sales alone every time a movie is released, Star Wars pays Disney's executives pretty well as it is. Demanding a larger share of that already hefty pie can start looking like little more than extortion, and it's clear that in their continued quest for more money, Disney's happy to leverage the adventures of the Skywalker family (and Rey) as their Death Star, with fear of lost earnings keeping the local systems in line.
Disney shouldn't be too proud of the cinematic terror they've constructed. Taking more money from movie theaters simply means that the companies who run screenings of the film will be forced to rely less on box office sales in order to turn a profit. This will likely mean a reduction in ticket prices on movies in order to draw in bigger crowds, followed by an increase in concession prices, as Disney has no claim to the money made on a box of popcorn.
If you see a lot of buy-one-get-one-free or reduced cost ticket deals this winter, see it for what it is: an act of defiant rebellion, as the movie theaters of the world attempt to stick it to their Imperial overlords by cutting the actual earnings they make at the box office. The more Disney executives tighten their grip, the more movie theaters will slip through their fingers.