August 13, 2001
Regal Tiff Slows 'Rush'
NEW YORK (The Hollywood Reporter) --- New Line Cinema's "Rush Hour 2" stormed to an estimated $131.9 million total at the domestic boxoffice in its second weekend. Some in the industry are asking how much higher that figure might have been if the film had screened in the nation's largest movie theater chain.
The 4,067-screen Regal Cinemas chain passed on the movie in a dispute over film rental negotiations. New Line insists that not having the movie in Regal theaters has had no effect upon its commercial success. Most exhibitors and distributors say the impact on total boxoffice would be noticeable if minimal.
Regardless of the impact on "Rush 2," the film rental dispute has severely strained relations between New Line and Regal and could see New Line's next major release, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," also absent from Regal screens.
Regal was the most strident of several exhibitors who protested earlier this summer when New Line Cinema joined the growing list of distributors who seek to negotiate "firm terms" on film rentals before a movie is released (HR 6/28).
Sources said Regal initially threatened to refuse to screen "Rush 2" and any other New Line release as long as the AOL Time Warner-owned mini-major sought firm-term rental negotiations.
New Line and Regal subsequently sought to settle their dispute and negotiated on "Rush 2" until days before its Aug. 3 release.