Flagship Theatres battles Cinemark over film bookings
A David vs. Goliath legal battle between Flagship Theatres and Cinemark, the nation's third largest theater chain, is heating up in Palm Desert. The owners of the Palme d'Or allege in a lawsuit that Texas-based Cinemark, which operates the 15-screen River Cinema in nearby Rancho Mirage, is illegally muscling them out of the marketplace by threatening to retaliate against movie studios that book films into the Palme d'Or. Cinemark has denied engaging in so-called circuit dealing and lodged an appeal.
Meanwhile, the case, initially dismissed in Los Angeles County Superior Court but recently revived by an appellate court, is being closely watched by other independent cinema operators around the country who've long complained about the big chains making it difficult for them to book first-run movies. For more on the story, click here.
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: The Palme d'Or art house theater in Palm Desert is locked in a legal battle with Texas-based circuit Cinemark. Credit: Andreas Maurtizson/Flagship Theatres.