Regal Settles Lawsuit With Landmark Over DC Theater

Nation’s largest movie chain will abandon clearance agreements in the affected area

Regal Cinemas

On Wednesday, Regal Cinemas — the largest theater chain in the U.S. — and Mark Cuban‘s Landmark Theatres settled an antitrust suit that Landmark brought, alleging that Regal acted unfairly in working with studios to deny Landmark’s Washington, D.C., theater first-run films.

The two exhibitors stipulated to the dismissal of the lawsuit, which Landmark filed in January under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Landmark’s complaint alleged that Regal’s Gallery Place multiplex got blockbusters like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” while Landmark’s newer Atlantic Plumbing theaters did not, because Regal told distributors that giving the films to Atlantic Plumbing would threaten their prospects at Regal’s other theaters throughout the country.

Regal’s attorney, Thomas Boeder at Perkins Coie, told the Hollywood Reporter that no money changed hands as a result of the settlement, but Regal agreed to abandon clearance agreements — which give certain chains exclusive rights to show movies in a particular market — in the affected geography.

Perkins Coie did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Regal responded to the complaint in an April motion to dismiss, accusing Landmark of seeking “refuge under the antitrust laws” because its Atlantic Plumbing theater had not fared well in competing for film licenses with the larger Gallery Place complex. Regal also denied the existence of any “purported agreements” that sought to deny Atlantic Plumbing from getting first-run films.

Last year, the Justice Department began an investigation of clearance agreements, which have been on the rise recently. Another antitrust suit against Regal remains active in Texas, and two separate antitrust suits have been filed against AMC Theaters in Georgia and Texas.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.