Proposed Movie Merger Draws Criticism
Caruthers, Chrystal, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Chrystal Caruthers Daily Herald Business Writer
A lead role
The proposed merger of the Cineplex Odeon and Sony/Loews movie theater businesses will give the company more than 60 percent market share in the Chicago area. That has some competitors and consumer advocates concerned.
Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook
Fox Valley Center, Aurora
Foxfield, St. Charles
Spring Hill, Carpentersville
Rice Lake Square Cinemas,
Bloomingdale Court Cinemas,
Westridge Court, Naperville
Golf Glen, Des Plaines
Golf Mill, Niles
Hawthorn Shopping Center,
Town & Country Mall,
Woodfield Shopping Center,
One Schaumburg Place,
Rivertree Court Cinemas,
Sources: Cineplex Odeon, Sony/Loews.
Most people don't think about who owns the movie theater where the latest blockbuster is playing.
Whether it's Loews/Sony, AMC or Cineplex Odeon has little influence on where a person decides to buy their ticket, as long as the start time is convenient.
But by next April, that may change.
If the proposed merger between Sony Corp. of America and Cineplex Odeon is approved by the Federal Trade Commission and shareholders, moviegoers may have fewer theater owners to sift through. Already the two largest chains of movie houses in the Chicago area, the companies combined will command a 63 percent share of the theater market.
That's a problem for consumers, according to Caroline Shoenberger, the City of Chicago's commissioner of consumer affairs.
"There is a legitimate concern here. Competition keeps prices in check and service at a higher standard," Shoenberger said. A merger of this magnitude is not in the public interest, she said.
"The public should have a choice. …