SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

In the 1970s motion picture studios increased their use of blind bidding and nonrefundable guarantees in an attempt to reduce the risks associated with producing a small number of large budget films. However, theater owners claimed that blind bidding and guarantees shifted risk to them and increased the likelihood of bankruptcy, because they were required to bid for the right to exhibit a movie without seeing it first. In response to the lobbying of theater owners, 24 states passed laws between 1978 and 1984 that banned blind bidding, while 7 states also banned nonrefundable guarantees. This paper provides the first empirical analysis of the conflicting claims made by theater owners and movie studios about the impact of these laws on the survival rates of independent theaters, admission prices, and delays in the release of movies. We find that the laws were not only ineffective in keeping theater owners at risk of bankruptcy from exiting the market; they may have been even detrimental to those theater owners converting theaters to multiplexes at that time. (JEL K, L)