Inside Move: Regal rebuff

Circuit avoids 'Rush Hour'

Regal Cinemas seems to be making good on its threat to keep New Line pics out of its theater chain. While the much-anticipated “Rush Hour 2” rolled out on 3,110 engagements nationwide Aug. 3, not one of Regal’s 4,100 screens was set to play the pic — and the circuit may be paying a price for holding out against New Line’s new “firm terms” booking arrangement.

Just hours after “Rush Hour 2” began its run, a Regal employee at one East Coast theater said it had been “inundated” by calls from would-be ticket buyers who “yelled and screamed at us” for not carrying the pic.

The Regal freezeout stems from New Line’s recently installed system of setting firm terms for film fees upfront instead of negotiating after a pic has already played.” Regal Cinemas did not agree with New Line’s revised policy in regards to film payments and negotiations,” says a spokesperson for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based theater chain. “We attempted to negotiate a reasonable financial agreement for the exhibition of ‘Rush Hour 2’ but after a lengthy and arduous negotiation process, we were unable to reach acceptable terms.”

The Regal spokesperson says that the cinema would continue to negotiate with New Line for future films.

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