Thursday, April 30, 2020

AMC's dispute with Universal for "not playing fair" during hard times (over "Trolls World Tour")

A business dispute has erupted in the movie theater business as a result of coronavirus. ANC Theaters has said that it will not exhibit Universal (NBC-Comcast) feature films, as a result of Universal’s decision to put some family films, especially “Trolls World Tour”, right out to VOD rental (expensive at $19.99) and bypassing the usual month or so in theaters. 
Hoeg Law examines the issue with a 30-minute video.

AMC apparently dropped its bankruptcy plans and instead made a private debt offering. That raises an interesting question for people with trusts like me.  Usually you have to be a “substantial investor” with assets over $1 million to buy in.  Also, this has to be money in your own name only, not with a deceased name too, because you have a fiduciary responsibility to other beneficiaries not to make risky investments, even if you are set up with a grantor trust (for the IRS).
Another player in the AMC controversy is the National Association of Theater Owners.  I note the acronym NATO and wonder about trademark. 
Hoeg explains that many affluent families have “home” theaters and can easily enjoy smaller films.  
Only the big films with 3-D and “Dolby Atmos” as he says, really need theatrical exhibition.
In recent years, theater chains have invested in reclining seats and remodeling, resulting in reduced capacity and increasing the likelihood of weekend sellouts and the need to buy tickets in advance online.

Picture above:  Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield VA, opened in 2011.  I don't have an AMC picture of my own handy right now. 

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