The U.S. Justice Department announced Aug. 2 that it will review 70-year-old consent decrees that put limits on dealings between movie distributors and movie theaters.

A Justice Department press release said that it plans to review the antitrust consent decrees emanating from the 1948 Supreme Court decision, United States v. Paramount.

The decrees include the prevention of bundling multiple movies into one theater license, distributors entering into a blanket license with a movie theater, and movie theaters agreeing to a distributor’s minimum ticket price.

The press release stated that the review is part of a broader Justice Department re-examination of longstanding antitrust consent decrees that have no sunset provisions. But it also pointed to specific recent changes in the movie business.

“Since the district court entered the Paramount Decrees, the motion picture industry has undergone considerable change,” the press release read. “The first-run movie palaces of the 1930s and 40s that had one screen and showed one movie at a time, today have been replaced by multiplex theatres that have multiple screens showing movies from many different distributors at the same time. Finally, consumers today are no longer limited to watching motion pictures in theatres. New technology has created many different distribution and viewing platforms that did not exist when the decrees were entered into. After an initial theatre run, today’s consumers can view motion pictures on cable and broadcast television, DVDs, and over the internet through streaming services.”

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323)556-8332 or

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