Ohio Attorney General investigating major movie theater chains

Regal cinemas is beefing up security by checking bags and backpacks.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is investigating the nation’s three largest movie theater chains – AMC, Cinemark, and Regal – for possible antitrust violations.

The investigation centers on whether AMC, Cinemark, and Regal engaged in conduct that unfairly excluded competitors from the market and kept new theaters from entering the market. The Attorney General says that such conduct can limit customers choices and stifle innovation.

“All businesses should have a fair chance to compete,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re investigating the movie theater chains because of concerns that smaller, independent businesses have been unfairly pushed out of the market. We’re conducting a thorough review to determine whether or not antitrust laws have been violated.”

AMC, Cinemark, and Regal previously have disclosed in public filings that they received civil investigative demands from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The investigation also has prompted nine other states to open similar probes into the theaters’ conduct.

If an antitrust investigation uncovers violations of state or federal laws, the Ohio Attorney General can seek an injunction or other monetary remedies, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

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