IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Antitrust and Pricing in the Motion Picture Industry


  • Barak Orbach

    (The University of Michigan Law School)


Few industries have experienced the same degree of antitrust scrutiny and litigation as the motion picture industry. Nevertheless, the pricing structure of movie tickets has never been a product of free market forces. Since the early 1970s, ticket pricing has been particularly puzzling: At any given theater, admission fees are uniform across movies and over time. This Article studies the history of the industry's pricing systems in their legal, economic, and technological contexts. It shows that, despite intensive antitrust scrutiny and litigation, forces with considerable market power have always shaped the industry's pricing systems. The Article studies the present pricing regime and explores the economic justifications for uniform pricing, concluding that none of the justifications is sound. The Article argues that vertical restraints, which are illegal under present antitrust laws, have at least some impact on the persistence of the present pricing regime. It further argues that the current prohibition against distributors' intervention in ticket pricing is undesirable and that, given the idiosyncratic characteristics of the industry, a coordinated transition to a variable pricing could be desirable.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Barak Orbach, "undated". "Antitrust and Pricing in the Motion Picture Industry," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1051, American Law & Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:alecam:1051

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jehoshua Eliashberg & Anita Elberse & Mark A.A.M. Leenders, 2006. "The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research, and New Research Directions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 638-661, 11-12.
    2. Samuel Cameron, 2011. "Cinema," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Joan Calzada & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2012. "Intertemporal Movie Distribution: Versioning When Customers Can Buy Both Versions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(4), pages 649-667, July.
    4. Ricard Gil, 2015. "Does Vertical Integration Decrease Prices? Evidence from the Paramount Antitrust Case of 1948," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 162-191, May.
    5. Chien-Ping Chen, 2009. "A Puzzle or a Choice: Uniform Pricing for Motion Pictures at the Box," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 37(1), pages 73-85, March.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:alecam:1051. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.