Living Room Theaters says unhappy Regal blocked popular film
Living Room Theaters LLC, which owns a theater on Southwest Tenth Avenue in downtown Portland with six screens (50 seats each), claimed in a nine-page lawsuit filed Tuesday, Feb. 20, that Regal's Fox Tower 10 theater had used its influence to block showings of the critically acclaimed film 'Call Me by Your Name' at the small theater.
The company asked the court to award it $50,000 lost when continued showings of the film were blocked in mid-January.
Living Room Theaters also has a theater in Boca Raton, Fla.
"Call Me by Your Name" was in limited release beginning in January, with some local showings at selected theaters. Fox Tower 10 is one of a handful of Portland-area Regal theaters that shows independent and art films, similar to Living Room Theaters.
Officials with Regal Entertainment of Knoxville, Tenn., have not commented on the lawsuit. No court date has been set for the case.
The legal fight stems from what Living Room Theaters said was intentional interference by Regal that forced Sony Pictures Classics to ask the small Portland company Jan. 19 to pull "Call Me by Your Name" from its theater, even though Living Room Theaters had sold tickets for upcoming weekend performances.
Regal Entertainment is an industry giant, with 561 theaters, 7,315 screens in 43 states. In the Portland area, the company has more than a dozen theaters with about 150 screens.
Living Room Theaters and Regal's Fox Tower 10 had shown "Call Me by Your Name" at similar times on the same days between Jan. 12 to 19. According to the lawsuit, after Regal saw industry numbers indicating that Living Room Theater's showings of the film earned more during the week, Regal "was very upset" and pushed Sony Pictures Classics to pull the film from the small Portland theater, "despite the fact that Living Room had already sold tickets for that very morning and upcoming weekend, as well as the following week."
Living Room Theaters had to provide refunds and "scramble to find other movies to fill the last-minute hole left by "Call Me by Your Name," and has found none that is as appealing to its patrons or so widely acclaimed."
The theater found a last-minute substitution with "The Final Year," the Obama administration documentary, but didn't have time to promote the showing, so "it did not perform well," according to the lawsuit.
"As a direct result of Regal's actions, Living Room suffered a loss of revenue, loss of goodwill, and harm to its business reputation," according to the lawsuit. "Living Room also incurred expenses to mitigate its loss of goodwill and harm to business reputation, such as fees associated with refunding ticketed purchases and the costs associated with providing complimentary movie tickets."