Justice Department to abolish anti-trust laws from the 1940’s

With the new release of Apple Tv + and Disney + the world has entered the streaming age. More and more movies and shows are turning to streaming platforms today and leaving the old ways of movie theaters behind. The cinematic landscape is changing and old antitrust laws over movie distribution are becoming obsolete and now hurting the industry they were designed to protect. In 1949 Congress passed the Paramount act that limited the eight largest movie studios from buying and owning movie theaters which stops them from controlling the entire movie distribution system. The Paramount act also made it illegal for studios to limit the number of theaters in one area that could play a movie. The Act also made it illegal for theaters to use “block booking” which was a practice that movie studios used. “Block booking” was when movie studios forced theaters to show their bad movies before they showed the good movies. 

These laws were very important during the time when cities and towns had one theater with one screen and showing one bad movie would waste everyone’s time and money all so the movie studios would not lose any money. Today however most cities and towns have multiple movie theaters and those theaters now have multiple screens which show many movies at the same time. With the changing landscape in today’s film industry and increases in technology these antitrust laws are now becoming obsolete mostly because now there are 3 movie theater companies who control more than half of all screens in the US. 

Removing the Paramount Act would not hurt these giant companies because they are too big now. Smaller, independent, theaters are the ones that are going to be hurt by the removal of this act. If movie distributors are allowed to block book again movie theaters would be crowded with just movies that would bring in a crowd. By removing this Act you are hurting not just small indie movie theaters but also the entire film industry by giving these companies the ability to control the distribution.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/business/media/movie-distribution-rules.html


2 thoughts on “Justice Department to abolish anti-trust laws from the 1940’s

  1. This is interesting. I often wondered how the film industry, specifically how the movie theater industry will be affected by the rise of streaming. This blog post is also insightful because I knew nothing about the Paramount Act of 1949. However, I don’t think the act still has a place in our current media world. Overall, you did a great job on this blog post.


  2. This news was really unfortunate to hear. I immediately thought of the Ritz, but hopefully they won’t be affected considering they show independent films exclusively. Though, I’d hope a media conglomerate like Disney wouldn’t bully them into being bought out. Going to the movies is such a special, un-biased experience, I would hate for that to be replaced with a tailored one depending on who owns the theater due to this abolishment.


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