Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the nation’s two largest movie theater chains, have received formal inquiries from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, signaling growing government scrutiny of a tactic large theater operators commonly use to keep movies out of competing locations.
Is this really what Lynch’s Justice Department now has time for?
Here is the basic:
That conduct includes the use of “clearances,” which are agreements that theater chains sometimes strike with studios in order to gain the exclusive right to play a given title in a particular market. The Justice Department is also looking into AMC’s participation into certain joint ventures, the notice said.
Regal, AMC and Cinemark have said it is up to the studios to grant the requests, which are part of a long-established industry practice that affects a small percentage of locations.
“We do not believe the Company has violated federal or state antitrust laws and are cooperating with the relevant governmental authorities,” AMC said in the notice. An AMC spokesman declined to comment further. AMC shares closed down 3.2%, or 91 cents, at $28 on Monday. Regal shares closed at $20.90, off six cents; it announced the notice after the market close. ..