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Hollywood Studios used to run a tight monopoly on film production, distribution, and exhibition. If you were an independent filmmaker, it was not possible to get your film distributed or seen on your own. You had to go through one of the major film studios and if they didn't like your film for any reason (perhaps a threat to one they're working on or just plain a really good film that could do well), it wasn't going anywhere. Then in 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that Hollywood studios could not own all 3 major arms for getting a film out and that the studios must part with one of them. Hollywood then decided that loosing exhibition would hurt them the least so they sold of the majority of their theaters.
Contributed by Ben Fancher