As Paramount Decrees fall, theaters brace for more change

NEW YORK (AP) — The Justice Department on Friday moved to terminate the Paramount Consent Decrees, the agreement that has long governed the separation of Hollywood studios from movie theaters.

Hatched in the aftermath of a 1948 Supreme Court decision that forced the studios to divest themselves of the theaters they owned, the Paramount Decrees disallowed several then-common practices of studio control, like “block-booking,” or forcing theaters to take a block of films in order to play an expected hit.

Their dissolution isn’t assured. Courts will review the Justice Department’s arguments and ultimately decide their fate. But the potential crumbling of a bedrock Hollywood tenet has led to widespread consternation from one corner of the movie world more than any other: small, independent theaters.

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