Antitrust Issues

U.S. steps up scrutiny of movie distribution

U.S. steps up scrutiny of movie distribution

At a time when the box office is booming, the business practices of the nation's largest theater chains are coming under growing scrutiny by the federal government.

The Department of Justice recently ordered Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. to supply documents as part of a widening investigation into whether the largest theater chains violated federal antitrust laws, three people familiar with the investigation said.

The government is examining allegations from independent theater owners across the country that the big chains are using their market clout to block smaller rivals from receiving first-run movies.