Col bends to Oz exhibs

Columbia’s standoff with Aussie exhibitors over film rental terms for “Cliffhanger” is over, but apparently not to the distrib’s satisfaction.

Columbia was pushing to increase exhibs’ minimum floor terms from 25% to 30%, the first increase in a decade.

To make its point, it pulled “Cliffhanger” a fortnight prior to its skedded June 17 release (Daily Variety, June 22).

Neither Hoyts Corp. CEO Peter Ivany nor Hoyts Fox Columbia TriStar topper Scott Neeson (who is ankling to 20th Century Fox as international marketing veep) would comment on the outcome of negotiations between the two companies over the past two weeks.

However, sources indicate Hoyts held firm and that Columbia, keen to get “Cliffhanger” out for the remainder of the current school holidays, didn’t push the issue. Also, the tacit understanding within the exhib sector was that all three major circuits would have resisted the move; thus Columbia had no other avenues of exposure.

Others note the distrib also may have been counting on “Last Action Hero” to boost its bargaining position, but that would have been diluted following the pic’s disappointing performance.

“Cliffhanger” opened in Brisbane July 1; elsewhere, its release is slated for July 8.

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