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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Ticket price hike raises debate over profit sharing

By Sun Li (China Daily)

13:51, November 25, 2011

A movie still from The Flowers of War, which was directed by Zhang Yimou and stars the British actor Christian Bale.

BEIJING - Before the movie maestro Zhang Yimou's much-anticipated epic, The Flowers of War, hit domestic theaters, a battle had taken place between distributors and cinemas over ticket prices and profit sharing.

The distributors of the movie, Beijing New Pictures Film, Huaxia Film Distribution and China Film Group, recently announced the minimum price for one of the film's ticket will increase by 5 yuan (80 cents). They also said the distributors will have the right to take 45 percent of the production's profits, and cinemas will have the right to the remaining 55 percent.

As a result of the change, the share of the pie going to distributors has risen by 2 percentage points while that going to the cinemas has decreased by the same amount, said Liu Hongpeng, deputy director of the Beijing Film Distribution and Screening Association.

"That was the critical point leading to the conflict," Liu said.

He said the higher ticket prices will inevitably irritate filmgoers and he is afraid they will turn around and blame the cinemas.

"The average price for a film ticket in Beijing is 35 yuan," Liu said. "According to what was announced by the distributors, the film's minimum price will be 40 yuan. That's a record price."

Believing their interests had been compromised, eight prominent cinema organizations, including Beijing Film Distribution and Screening Association, Shanghai United Circuit and Zhejiang Time Cinema, threatened on Nov 22 to boycott the movie if the distributors did not adjust their rules governing ticket prices and profit sharing.

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