Regal relents, shows Star Wars

In an abrupt change of heart, Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 now lists Star Wars, The Revenant, Hail, Caesar! and Deadpool as screening February 19, even though they're on the bill at Violet Crown as well.
Staff photo In an abrupt change of heart, Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 now lists Star Wars, The Revenant, Hail, Caesar! and Deadpool as screening February 19, even though they’re on the bill at Violet Crown as well. Staff photo

A week ago, C-VILLE reported how Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 refused to show the highest grossing film ever, Star Wars, if it was shown at independent movie chain Violet Crown in downtown Charlottesville. In an abrupt change of heart, Regal lists Star Wars, The Revenant, Hail, Caesar! and Deadpool as screening February 19, even though they’re on the bill at Violet Crown as well.

What gives?

Apparently one longstanding policy at Regal—that of not returning media inquiries—has not changed, and Regal Entertainment Group did not respond to a call from C-VILLE.

The movie monolith is being sued in several cities across the country for demanding exclusivity of first-run movies, which jeopardizes smaller chains, according to the lawsuits. A judge in Texas granted a temporary injunction January 21, enjoining Regal from “engaging in anticompetitive and unlawful conduct, by directly or indirectly, demanding or requesting exclusive film licenses or the right to exhibit films from any studio to the exclusion of [plaintiff IPic’s] Houston theater.”

Violet Crown owner Bill Banowsky welcomes the change. “This is really a good day for people in Charlottesville,” he says. “They’re going to have a choice.” He says he never wanted to force people to come downtown if they wanted to see a movie at Stonefield, and he believes showing the same movies at both multiplexes will expand the market.

And good news for IMAX fans who had to travel out-of-town to see The Force Awakens: Deadpool, which broke box office records for the opening weekend of an R-rated movie, is showing in IMAX at Regal.

Says Banowsky, “We’re really pleased the market is going to have choices.”

 

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