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‘Schindler’ bow strong in Oz despite exhib gripes

In its foreign preem in Australia, “Schindler’s List” racked up a terrific $ A430,000 ($ 305,300) in the first four days on 15 screens.

UIP managing director Michael Selwyn said he was delighted with the screen average of slightly above $ 20,000.

The film’s launch was preceded by complaints from some indie exhibs over UIP’s demands for a minimum fee per ticket. Exhibs said the $ A3.15 ($ 2.20) minimum would force up some concession prices.

This in turn prompted the Prices Surveillance Authority to question UIP’s policy.

Selwyn said Monday the PSA subsequently “saw no problem in what we are doing.”

He disputed the $ A3.15 quoted but agreed that UIP was insisting on a per capita fee based on admissions for each of the first four weeks of the film’s run. This would have no impact on ticket prices, he said.

Based on the four-day figures, he said “most cinemas are well over that minimum.” He justified the new policy by stating “Schindler’s List” is a “premium product that deserves to be regarded as such” by the market.

He said this move is part of an ongoing campaign by distribs to improve film rentals in Australia, where they average about 40%.

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