The Bengies Drive-in Theatre will take a stance on the movies distributed by The Walt Disney Company.
To be very fair, these are my feelings about it. (However, it is very interesting to note, a number of drive-in theatres seem to be reacting to this with the same distain.) The Walt Disney Company has become very "DRIVE-IN THEATRE" unfriendly over the past few years, and now it is VERY difficult for me to reach a deal with them at all. Even to show their releases after the "break" is a very expensive proposition.
And it gets worse, because now I am feeling if I conform to any of The Walt Disney Company offerings, what I am really doing is putting income into their coffers, so they can thump their chest and spend it to make matters even worse, if that's possible. Heck, just keeping it the same is reason enough to cause one OBVIOUS hesitation.
I do want my good patrons to know what to expect if the release is being done by The Walt Disney Company. It is VERY unlikely it will be even handed enough for me to agree to terms. If you want to see these films, as much as it disheartens me to say, "...go elsewhere..."
I have tried to get The Walt Disney Company to see the precarious nature of drive-in theatre ownership and expense, they just are not concerned. I continue to engage with them on a weekly basis in the hopes of reaching agreement. This has so far been a lesson in mostly futility. I will continue to make those attempts for the sake of fulfilling my obligation to the patrons of the Bengies as it is certain they would like to see these films in this venue.
Maybe this was Disney's idea in first place? Keep the terms so onerous this venue cannot afford to play it; therefore, it goes to the indoor venue where ticket prices are higher, which would provide maximum income to them? Even if it wasn't the purpose it sure has ended up that way.
I learned a lesson this year (2018) when I did conform (for the first time ever) to a mandatory 3-week deals opposed to all other distributors doing 2 week Playdates as a normal business practice, I basically lost revenue doing this. So, lesson learned.
When an opportunity to gain terms from The Walt Disney Company comes within the norm, I will make all due considerations and make a good decision for the Bengies.
I will continue to do the best I can for the industry and independent exhibition when dealing with them.
Footnote: With the acquisition of 20th Century Fox to Disney (or any other HUGE entity) I find it strange that neither the United States Justice Department has not called upon Exhibition to "weigh inâ€ť on the likely or possible effects to us (the exhibition industry,) I am very afraid that putting so much of what is truly "INTELECTUALâ€ť property in the hands of so few, it is likely to change the face of what actually gets produced, and how it is distributed to the public. If the GIANT Corporations do succeed in gaining this much power, it can spell a way to "shapeâ€ť how the general public thinks. When the folks who now OWN the "newsâ€ť I can see why we should all take attention to them having much more influence over our lives and what we see.
Also consider the "controlâ€ť of distribution. The policy of The Walt Disney Company is to release the film for about 120 days to exhibition. After that run, they "pullâ€ť it out of release, and it will not be available for Theatrical Distribution from that point forward (Save for and "specialâ€ť arrangements at their "sole discretion.â€ť
All other major distributors have archives for the continuation of Theatrical distribution after release of the picture.
Since the goal of distribution has always been for THEM to distribute their own product (see the Paramount Decree) this is particularly scary, because as it is Disney product is only "soldâ€ť after the fact by Disney. They control all of the intellectual property which means all of the stars, producers, and directors who stand before Exhibitors and assure them that they make movies for "the big screen, to be shared in a communal way in movie theatresâ€¦â€ť must not realize that Disney (under the guise of "protecting their brandâ€ť) does NOT ALLOW the movie to be seen again in the venues that the film makes intended!
So now that the GIANT corporations are hot after these properties, I justifiably encourage the public to wake up and see where all of this is headed. Corporate entities who already horde product, will now base all of their decisions on distribution of intellectual property based entirely on control of the market, and that market will be theirs exclusively.
They decide what gets made, AND HOW it gets made, the content of the movie (as we already know, many films are made to conform to the censorship held in countries like China) and path of distribution to the public.
The ramifications to freedom are huge.
The best example I can give for the general public to understand this in an easy way, it the recent decision of the Walt Disney Company (who owns ABC Television network and news) to "PULL the TC show "ROSEANNEâ€ť off the air. Not just the new episodes but also the entire syndicated older shows. All this over a hasty "tweetâ€ť that was indeed bad, but no worse than things that have been said or implied on "The View.â€ť
This can be called many things but I am very surprised the idea of CENSORSHIP has not been one of them and in my opinion, that is EXACTLY what it is.
Right, wrong or indifferent, I hope the modern citizens of the USA pay closer attention to more power in the hands of the HUGE which become very few, when it actually is much better protected in the hands of the MANY.