Cinemas Palme d’Or in Palm Desert will close its doors in June.
The movie theater will call it quits on June 30, according to the Hollywood Reporter after a long battle with Cinemark Theaters.
“We could no longer stay solvent because of Cinemark’s constant pressure on studios and distributors to shut us out of major titles. We fought hard, but circuit-dealing has made it impossible to stay in business,” said the owners in a letter sent to Hollywood studios this week.
The theater is owned by actor Bryan Cranston, ESPN radio personality Steve Mason, businessman Andreas Mauritzson and longtime theater executive Brian Tabor. It opened at the Westfield Mall in Palm Desert in 2003.
The independent movie theater currently is embroiled in a lawsuit against Cinemark over clearances of films that can be shown at the property.
But Mason told THR that Cinemark’s nearby theater, Century the River, began demanding clearances from Hollywood studios and other film distributors, meaning if they booked a film with Cinemas Palme d’Or, that movie wouldn’t get a berth in certain Cinemark locations. Cinemas d’Or filed a lawsuit that’s still being fought.
“I’m devastated. They have tried to take every single movie away from us,” Mason said.
Mason spoke to Deadline about the struggles the theater had booking top films like last year’s Star Wars: the Force Awakens:
“To give you an example of how much power Cinemark exerted on distributors to prevent us from playing a film, Disney had Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And for any theater to book that title, it was like Black Friday — it made your year. We knew we needed it, and we knew Disney was starting to ignore clearances. We offered to pay them 100% film rental, every penny from every ticket on Force Awakens so that at least we’d make money from concessions. Disney said no. Then we offered 125% on every ticket, and the studio still said no. Cinemark just put their foot down and said absolutely no way, no way.
Despite closing the theater, the lawsuit against Cinemark will still proceed, say the owners.
Deadline reports the theater will become Tristone Cinema Group with a new name on July 1.
Here is the letter that was sent by the owners of Cinemas Palme d’Or (via Deadline):follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date.