Art News

Denver Film Society's Lawsuit Against Landmark Theatres Moves Forward

A year ago, the Denver Film Society announced it would join an antitrust lawsuit against Landmark Theatres; the indie film giant responded with a request for the case to be dismissed. Today, October 1, just weeks before the Denver Film Festival opens, the Film Society announced that part of Landmark's request has been denied, and the case will continue on in the courts.

The Denver Film Society, the nonprofit that runs the Sie FilmCenter, the Denver Film Festival and Film on the Rocks, is named as a plaintiff in the suit alongside the now-defunct West End Cinema and the Avalon Theatre Project in Washington, D.C., and Cinema Detroit.

The claim accuses Landmark Theatres of violating federal antitrust laws by preventing smaller arthouse theaters from screening certain films by negotiating exclusive contracts with distributors.

In a September 28 opinion, Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote that he dropped some parts of the case based on Landmark's request, but is allowing others to continue in court.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision in favor of our lawsuit moving forward," says the Denver Film Society's executive director, Andrew Rodgers, in a statement. "While we know there will be additional steps in the legal process, we’re confident that Landmark’s anticompetitive practices are unlawful, including Landmark’s insistence on exclusive rights to screen specialty films that eliminate local competition for those films despite consumer demand.”

A spokesperson for Landmark declined to comment on the lawsuit. 
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris