Slog tipper Dan let us know about the sad case of Cinema Salem, which had to cancel its popular Walking Dead screening series:
Hey there faithful Walking Dead fans! We have noticed that over the last few days you’ve been inquiring as to whether we’ll be showing it on the big screen again when the mid season premiere happens on Sunday. The answer is no, and here’s why. Towards the end of the last part of the season we received a cease and desist letter from AMC demanding that we not show episodes of their show because the screening was unlicensed. We responded that our business license from Direct TV allowed us to show television to our customers. We continued showing you the episodes.
After the season finale, we got another letter, which said that our business license was irrelevant because of the size of our screen. We did not respond because we were in the process of switching from Direct TV to Comcast. We did not think it would be useful to appeal to Direct TV since we were going to be discontinuing service with them. Comcast has since told us that they do not think screen size is relevant to whether or not our screenings are licensed, but have yet to produce anything in writing to that effect. So we will not be screening The Walking Dead until we feel secure in our legal right to do so (which may be never).
Bullshit like this is pretty commonplace because networks and movie studios apparently hate fun, and they especially hate it when large numbers of fans come together to watch their products in large groups. Dan points out that AMC also killed a Walking Dead screening series hosted by a Portland comic book shop in November. These events are publicity for the shows, and they help create a feeling that the shows are not-to-be-missed events. I don't know why anyone would think it was a good idea to shut them down. Could you imagine if the NFL tried to make it illegal to watch football games in bars? The entertainment industry keeps trying to make sure that fans don't enjoy their product, and it's painful to watch them do this again and again.