Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 179–206 | Cite as

Competition among movie theaters: an empirical investigation of the TohoSubaru antitrust case

Original Article


This study assesses the 1951 TohoSubaru antitrust merger case in the Japanese movie theater market. Using information regarding the location of theaters in the Tokyo metropolitan area, I examined the relationship between the number of attendees and the structure of the local market competition: a regression equation relating to the number of attendees and the local market structure was derived from a model of product differentiation, which incorporated the features of a movie theater market. The results revealed that nearby rival theaters had negative effects on other theaters’ attendance numbers, and these effects did not dissipate even where there was 10 km between each theater. Based on empirical results, it appears that the Tokyo High Court and the competition agency defined the geographic movie theater market as being smaller than it actually was. The results of this study suggest that the application of econometric analysis, combining geographic information, is useful in merger reviews of retail industries, such as movie theaters.


Antitrust Local market competition Merger Movie theater market 

JEL Classification

L11 L41 L82 N45 N75 



Earlier versions of this study were presented at the AsLEA Annual Meeting, the EARIE, Hitotsubashi University, the IIOC, the JEA Annual Meeting, the JFTC, Kyushu University, Kwansei Gakuin, and Nihon University. I would like to express sincere gratitude to the editor, two anonymous referees, and various seminar attendees for their useful comments and suggestions. The financial supports from the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) and the Okawa Foundation are gratefully acknowledged. Needless to say, all remaining errors are mine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsOsaka Prefecture UniversityNaka-ku, Sakai, OsakaJapan

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