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Hollywood is buzzing about a reported battle between Walt Disney Studios and theater owners over “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The recently released film has already pulled in more than $400 million. Theater owners say Disney has been trying to boost its cut by taking a bigger share of the box office and restricting matinee hours.
Barry Blaustein, Chapman University screenwriting professor, says theaters make money by getting people in the door to buy those overpriced, $5 boxes of Raisinets.
“Basically, movie theaters are in the candy selling business,” he says.
Sam Craig teaches marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He says historically, theaters and studios typically split box office receipts 50/50. But Disney reportedly wants 60 percent of the box office for the Avengers sequel — and that could add up.
“Studios need theaters. Theaters need films to make money,” he says.
If Disney keeps churning out big hits, the studio could have even more power over theaters, and other studios might follow Disney’s lead.
“It’s likely to gross over $500 million, so now we’re talking $50 million,” Craig says.
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