Disney Is Now Prohibiting Theaters from Screening Fox's Movie Catalog
Disney’s acquisition of Fox has already resulted in job losses and film cancellations. But the latest news is even more personal and upsetting to independent theater owners and moviegoers as Disney will no longer be licensing the Fox film library to commercial theaters, meaning that if you enjoy seeing Fox’s classic films and cult hits at your local cinema, you’re now out of luck. The speculation is that those films will be used to entice individuals to purchase Hulu or Disney+.
Disney has long maintained a policy to not allow first-run theaters or commercial discount theaters to screen pictures from its library. Now, following the Fox acquisition, that policy is being applied to Fox’s catalog. For whatever reason, Disney seems to be making an exception for ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ but who really cares when literally everything else is getting nuked from theaters.
The new policy has forced exhibitors to cancel planned screenings and re-evaluate their booking model since special event screenings have traditionally been used to fill theaters at times when they normally wouldn’t do much business. Alamo Drafthouse is just such an example—they show first-run movies but also regularly screen classics, including on 35mm.
So we’ll just add this to the pile of evidence that consolidation in the film industry—particularly by Disney—is continuing to detrimentally affect just about every single stakeholder imaginable.