Wal-Mart at the Movies

Is sex good for movie sales? Not really, and Edward Jay Epstein, The Hollywood Economist (51), says it’s due to Wal-Mart: “In 2007, the six studios took in $17.9 billion from DVD sales, according to the studios’ own internal numbers. Wal-Mart, including its Sam’s Club stores, accounted for nearly one-quarter of those sales, which means that Wal-Mart wrote more than $4 billion in checks to studios in 2007. Such enormous buying power comes dangerously close to constituting what the Justice Department calls a monopsony – control of a market by a single buyer and it allows the retail giant to effectively dictate the terms of trade.”

Above all, Wal-Mart wants to avoid offending customers – mothers in particular – by avoiding “material that may be inappropriate for children.” It sends films with sexually related nudity to the adult section of the story, and this “greatly reduces their sales.”

One envisions an ad campaign: Want to clean up Hollywood? Shop at Wal-Mart.

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