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Mickey Rat? A Rant of Mice and Jedi

Cameron Riddle

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I have a question for you, yes you, the reader. Are you excited for “Star Wars-The Last Jedi” coming out in theatres this december? If you said yes, then there is a chance that this winter will be the most disappointing yet, especially for the hardcore fans of the long running series. Why..? Well that’s because of Disney of course, or rather, it’s due to the greed demonstrated by the ones running the show over at disney. Now I’m not going to point fingers at any one person or anything like that because the fact of the matter is that it happened, which means something is wrong under the cheerful kid friendly exterior that disney put off.

“What happened,” you may ask, “how is Disney being greedy, and what does this have to do with “The Last Jedi”?”

Well, the answer lies not at “Disney World,” nor at the filming of the movie. No, this answer lies in the theatres, and in the pockets of the people who run them.

You see, in most cases, whenever a movie comes out, it makes a deal with theatres both large and small, they let the theatres run the movie for an amount of time that the theatre can negotiate on and agree that the theatre deserves a chunk of the money for letting it be shown to people in the first place. This money is usually about 45% percent of the profit, sizable and covers the expenses that all theatres face, supply cost, maintenance, paying worker, etc. Occasionally if a movie is thought to do really well, then the theatres will take a bit less, the biggest of which is giving up an extra 5%, and only taking  40% of the profit which is still enough to cover expenses and make a bit of profit. Its a relationship between the makers and the distributers that ends with us getting to sit down in our favorite theatre and enjoy a movie we’ve wanted to watch for months.

Disney, on the other hand, has made several demands that can very well break that relationship, just long enough that “The Last Jedi” will have to be watched on the home TV rather than the big screen it deserves. These demands include Taking a whopping 65% of the cut,(leaving theatres with a record low 35%) and that’s if, IF the theatres don’t go against any of their demands, because even if they step one toe out of line, or don’t meet the ridiculous requirement set by Disney up to their standards. then Disney  can take yet another 5% away from the theatres.

Oh, and don’t think the 65- 70% that Disney can take by default is the end of it. I mentioned a requirement that Disney is forcing on any theatre that wants to show “The Last Jedi” to follow earlier in the article. That requirement is that “The Last Jedi” is to be shown on the BIGGEST screen for FOUR weeks STRAIGHT! While this might not be a gargantuan problem to the bigger theatres that have a massive amount of screens, the tinier theatres that don’t house more than one or two screens quite litterally can’t afford for their biggest, or only, screen in their theatre to be taken up throughout the leading days through Hanukkah, Christmas, AND all the way past New Years.

This will prevent many small time theatres from playing anything different for weeks after the opening days, which we all know to be when most people watch a movie, coupled with the already outrageous cut being demanded by Disney, and you can very well see many small time theatres taking massive hits financially. Hits that will take months, maybe even years to recover from.

The worst part about this, is just how little say theaters both small and large have in this. Boycotts have been called for, but for both financial and viewer based reasons many can’t refuse to show it. It’s ” The Last Jedi,” to not show it would anger hundreds of long time fans who don’t know the reasoning behind the decision and can lose the theatre thats just trying to speak out against Disney, hundreds of previously faithful customers.

This is a problem, and not just for the theatres, not even just a problem for “Star Wars” fans. This is a problem for everyone who enjoys time in a theatre, because Disney isn’t going to be done taking every bit of money after they snatch a ridiculous amount of the money thats going to be flowing in on the 16th this december. They WILL do this for every “Star Wars” movie after this, and eventually such greed will spread to the negotiations of other disney films in theatres. If this gets left unchecked, such monopolizing of film titles may become the norm, inspiring tons of theatres to bail out or not even get started up at all. Indeed, by the time “Fantastic Beast 3” comes out, everyone who’s not in a town with the biggest of theatres will simply have to wait the long wait till it comes out on dvd.

Has Disney gone too far? Have the pirates hopped out of the Caribbean and replaced the heads at Disney?

I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Until next time, this is a concerned fanboy, signing off.

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