After having to travel to obscure movie theaters in my area to see the majority of films in Oscar contention, it got me thinking, Who or what determines the movies that play in theaters? Does the theater choose? Does the distributed choose? What makes a film like Hateful Eight get into more theaters than that of Spotlight, Room, Carol, etc? Thanks!
Some times, for example, the exhibitor wants one MOVIE that he knows it’s gonna be good and make money, but the distributor forces him to buy a package of other movies if he’s really interested in the one that he wants. For example, the Weinstein Co. this year could say: “If you want to play Carol you also have to play Burnt”. Not necessarily at the same time, but it’s all an agreement at the signature papers.
Wait, how is that different from block booking?
For platform releases, they try their fortunes out in a handful of major markets and hope to build enough word of mouth for them to make enough money in a wider release (often obviously scheduled to coincide with Oscar time).