From the “Grace about town” column in the 6-24-2004 “Illinois Times.”
“This year, we went to see The Day after Tomorrow. Amy was adamant about going to see it. I’m not sure why.
“This flick caused quite a furor in town because apparently the Kerasotes theater monopoly refused to show the movie if it played at the drive-in on the night the film opened all over the country.
“First, bravo to the Route 66 for showing it. Second, is a monopoly ever a good thing? And is anybody planning on doing anything to remedy this situation? Doesn’t it seem atrocious that Kerasotes wouldn’t show a movie just because it plays at the drive-in? Usually the drive-in movies have already opened at the Kerasotes theaters. Isn’t this discrimination against patrons of drive-in theaters? Don’t we deserve to see a movie outdoors on its release date?
“It’s not as if the people who prefer sitting in air conditioning are going to suddenly decide to take all their business to the drive-in. It’s not as if there are a dozen drive-ins in town, all owned by the same people.
“All I’m saying is, if I want to enjoy a fresh new movie while sitting outside in the precious warm summer air, please let me, Mr. Kerasotes.”
I was wondering how you came to the conclusion that Kerasotes “refused to show” the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” while it was playing at the drive-in? My impression has been that competing theater chains within the same area bid for the exclusive rights to show movies. Therefore, if The Route 66 Drive-in won the bidding for “The Day After Tomorrow,” then the Kerasotes chain can’t show that movie. Did the theaters tell you something different?
Also, “is a monopoly ever a good thing?” you ask? Potentially. If Kerasotes didn’t have any other theaters or theater chains to bid against to get the most desirable movies, they could pass on some of the savings in the form of cheaper tickets … though I have my doubts that it would actually play out that way.