Why Some Theaters Are Refusing To Play 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

Lucasfilm's latest entry in the Star Wars saga is guaranteed to be a huge hit at the box office, so why would some theaters refuse to play it?

Apparently, Disney's conditions for theaters screening Star Wars: The Last Jedi include unprecedented demands, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

The House of Mouse has become one of the most successful movie studios on the planet and are able to increase their demands for theaters that want to screen their films. And their demands for the new Star Wars movie are being called by theater owners "the most onerous they've ever seen."

Disney is requiring 65 percent of the revenue from ticket sales from theaters, up from 64 percent for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. They're also requiring theaters play the film in their largest auditorium for at least four weeks, while other Disney movies are typically in that space for two weeks.

But if a theater were to break any part of the agreement, that increase would jump 5 points to a whopping 70 percent. That means if a theater agrees to air the film on eight screens for the first four weeks, but drops one of them before that time because the tickets aren't selling enough to justify it, they will be penalized.

The report states that studios generally get about 55 percent to 60 percent of the revenue from domestic screenings, and about 40 percent overseas.

Now, these aren't the worst terms for large cities and big theater chains considering Star Wars: The Last Jedi is going to be a record-breaking hit. But when it comes to smaller theaters in smaller markets, there's little incentive to play it.

A small town with a two-screen theater might not see the film with these conditions. If they're forced to keep Star Wars: The Last Jedi playing for a month when they could be using that screen for newer films, they could end up losing money anyways.

It's an interesting predicament and it certainly doesn't look good for Disney at this point. But given their status and success in the industry, they might be the only studio able to make such demands.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters December 15.


(h/t Slashfilm)