Things are getting scary for the Mouse House in Spain.
Spain’s second biggest exhibitor-programmer, Yelmo Cineplex, is refusing to handle “Scary Movie 4,” which bows in Spain on Friday, in protest at the rental rates charged by Buena Vista Intl., plus ever-shrinking release windows.
The question now is whether other exhibitors will follow suit.
Neither BVI Spain nor Cinesa — Spain’s biggest exhibition loop incorporating former UCI, AMC and Warmer Lusomundo cinema theaters — were available for comment.
Yelmo Cineplex’s stand will draw sympathy among other local circuits.
A joint venture of the U.S.’ Loews and Spain’s Yelmo Films, Yelmo has around 12% market share in Spain, owning 329 screens at 29 sites, including three of Spain’s top 20 screens.
Yelmo CEO Ricardo Evole is president of Spain’s exhibitors’ lobby FECE and will receive an exhibitor of the year award at this month’s Cinema Expo in Amsterdam.
“We have been negotiating with Buena Vista for more than a year. We have offered terms to handle their product, but Buena Vista has told us that they are not going to negotiate terms,” an executive at Yelmo Cineplex told Daily Variety.
Distributors take 65% of a movie’s first weekend B.O.
Yelmo’s hold out reflects a new bullishness coming just weeks after a Spanish anti-trust authority ruling, which fined U.S. majors in Spain $15.1 million for cartel practices.
As Spain preps a new cinema law, Spanish exhibitors want their voice to be heard regarding, for example, the regulation of fast-contracting release windows. Currently these are left to market forces.
“Yelmo Cineplex is working to reduce rental terms, and stop the continuous reduction of distribution windows,” the Yelmo executive said.