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Film-Flam

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Some studio distributors specialize in independent films, such as 20th Century Fox's Fox Searchlight Pictures. Fox can choose to send successful independent films like Juno and Slumdog Millionaire to independent exhibitors, or they can send independent films to the multiplexes. "Distributors want their films in front of as many people as possible," says Peter Moller, a professor of television, radio and film at Newhouse. "If an independent exhibitor wants a film, and Regal also wants it, Regal wins."By creating their own distribution arms, the big studios monitor which movies go to the multiplexes and which don't. Action and animation films, 3D films, adventure films and films with big stars go to the multiplexes. Foreign films, dramatic independents and experimental films generally don't, so Syracusans rarely see such films on Regal screens. Occasionally, critical acclaim or several awards will bring an unknown film to the multiplex."When I first started in the business, a good film would stay maybe eight weeks, and a great film would stay 10 to 13 weeks," says Nat Tobin, owner and operator of the Manlius Art Cinema. "You don't see those kinds of runs anymore." Although he acquired the small Manlius cinema in 1992, Tobin has ample experience in the industry dating back to a long career in movie advertising with United Artists. Tobin carries independent and foreign films and only shows one film at a time at his single-screen theater. "Our longest run was My Big Fat Greek Wedding," he says. "Surprisingly, that lasted 22 weeks."

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