Disney sets demanding terms for new film release

World Today

The latest installment of the phenomenally successful Star Wars franchise will open next month and fans can’t wait. But theater owners aren’t as thrilled given some strict new rules they have to follow if they want the movie and it all has to do with Disney’s growing influence in the entertainment industry.

CGTN’s May Lee has more on Disney’s expanding influence.

Theaters in the U.S. are required to follow strict new terms to run “The Last Jedi,” which opens Dec. 15. The will have to pay Disney, owner of the Star Wars franchise, an unprecedented flat ticket revenue rate of 65% and the film must show in the largest auditorium for at least four weeks. If any of the rules are violated, Disney can take another 5 percent cut.

Entertainment attorney, Lindsay Conner, says “For the average film if a studio says this to an exhibitor, says I want a flat percentage all the way across, the exhibitor will say, forget it, find some screens somewhere else. Nobody is gonna say that about Star Wars.”

And the power of Disney goes beyond Star Wars. All the Marvel blockbusters are Disney properties, as well as Pixar animated films, hundreds of other movie titles and thousands of television hours.

Now, Disney is reportedly interested in buying the movie and TV assets of 21st Century Fox, a deal that would beef up Disney’s library for its not yet launched streaming service that would rival Netflix, but potentially surpass it because Disney has access to China. Netflix does not.

“We see a huge opportunity for Disney to get into markets that Netflix can’t even get into because they play by the rules, but also in general their content is so non-threatening,” Ross Gerber, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment said. “So as Disney invests more and more in China, and Chinese consumers look for more and more content, the government of China is very concerned that the content meet certain standards and Disney fits that parameter perfectly.”

What else is near perfect are the infinite possibilities for the Star Wars franchise. Disney recently announced there will be another Star Wars trilogy coming our way. That’s on top of the other Star Wars related films slated for release. So it looks like the Disney’s ecosystem of content, services and merchandises will continue to expand globally for years and years to come.