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'Killers' not showing at 242 Carmike theaters: Negotiations unsuccessful between Carmike Cinemas, distributor Lionsgate
[June 04, 2010]

'Killers' not showing at 242 Carmike theaters: Negotiations unsuccessful between Carmike Cinemas, distributor Lionsgate

Jun 04, 2010 (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- An impasse in negotiations between Carmike Cinemas and movie studio Lionsgate means there will be no "Killers" film starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl playing in Columbus theaters or any of Carmike's 242 theaters across the country when it debuts today.

"We are not showing it chain-wide," Richard Hare, Carmike's chief executive officer, said Thursday.

He declined to explain why "Killers" is not appearing in his company's theaters or comment on its talks with Lionsgate, saying "we don't like to discuss or debate those publicly." "Every week we negotiate every single film that comes through all of our theaters," Hare said.

Peter Wilkes, head of investor relations and corporate communications at Lionsgate, did not return phone calls and e-mails.

"Killers" -- which features former "That '70s Show" star Kutcher as a professional assassin and Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy" fame as his love interest -- is a PG-13-rated action comedy that follows the couple as they scramble to survive a series of attempts on their lives.

Columbus-based Carmike operates theaters in 35 states, primarily in communities of fewer than 100,000 residents.

The typical process is for theater chains and movie distributors to negotiate which films will be shown in specific markets and how much of the ticket revenue they will split to lease the movies. Carmike makes much of its money on sales of refreshments -- soft drinks, popcorn and candy.

"There are any number of issues that surround the negotiation of the terms for any film," said Lee Champion, Carmike's general counsel and secretary. "And sometimes the parties just can't make a deal." This is the second recent movie by Lionsgate not to appear in Carmike theaters. The R-rated movie, "Kick-Ass," was a no-show after its release in late April. It's about a boy who dreams of being a superhero.

Upcoming Lionsgate films that may or may not be shown by Carmike include "The Expendables," which opens Aug. 13; "The Last Exorcism" on Aug. 27; "Alpha and Omega" on Sept. 17; and "Buried" on Sept. 24.

"In our business we have mutual dependency on our studio partners," Hare said. "I will say that this shouldn't be taken as an indication that our existing or our future relationship with Lionsgate is anything but a strong one." Newly release alternatives to "Killers" this weekend -- which are on the Carmike schedule -- include "Marmaduke" by 20th Century Fox, "Splice" by Warner Bros. and "Get Him to the Greek" by Universal Pictures.

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