Regal Responds to D.C. Theater Monopoly Suit

Landmark claims Regal threatened to nationally boycott films, including 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' if a distributor licensed that film to the Atlantic Plumbing theater in D.C.
Courtesy of Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Theatre/ Facebook

Mark Cuban's Landmark Theatres is responsible for its Washington, D.C., location, Atlantic Plumbing, not being able to compete with Regal Entertainment's Gallery Place, according to a motion to dismiss filed Monday by Regal. 

Landmark sued Regal in D.C. federal court in January, claiming the chain has a 91 percent market share in the nation's capital and is using its nationwide theaters as leverage with distributors to shut out competition. 

"Landmark seeks refuge under the antitrust laws simply because the Atlantic Plumbing has had to compete with the Gallery Place for film licenses in one area of Washington, D.C., and the Atlantic Plumbing has not fared as well as Landmark would have liked in that competition," states the motion filed by Regal's attorney Perry A. Lange. 

Lange's motion also says Landmark's factual allegations don't match up with its claim that Regal is coercing distributors.

"Landmark alleges only that Regal has taken the unremarkable position that one of its theatres — the Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14 in Washington, D.C. — will not simultaneously play the same films as the nearby Landmark Atlantic Plumbing because the two theatres would otherwise split the finite audience for these films," Lange writes. "There is not a single factual allegation regarding any purported agreement that a distributor would not license a film to the Atlantic Plumbing if that film was licensed to the Gallery Place, much less an agreement to deny the Atlantic Plumbing access to films generally."

Regal claims the Atlantic Plumbing's performance is the result of poor planning by Landmark. 

"Landmark chose to build a very small theatre less than two miles from Regal’s very large theatre," Lange writes in the motion. "And when these two theatres compete for the same film license, Landmark often has not made sufficiently attractive offers to convince distributors to license their films to the Atlantic Plumbing rather than to the Gallery Place, with its higher grossing potential for certain films."

Further, Regal claims Landmark is manipulating the data to support their accusations. 

"Landmark relies on a gerrymandered geographic market covering select neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., that contrives to exclude several other movie theatres — located right outside the posited market," Lange writes.

Landmark's lawsuit followed an injunction against Regal in Texas, but the chain also beat a similar complaint in California in 2014. 

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