Gaumont goes with passes

Indie exhibs still protest move, tix restricted to Nantes

PARIS — French exhibitor Gaumont has launched a cheap cinema pass to rival those recently unveiled by its two biggest competitors, UGC and Pathe.

Cover price of roughly $14 per month is the same for all three, but like Pathe, Gaumont is restricting its pass to the Atlantic coastal town of Nantes, site of stiff competition among France’s three leading exhibs.

Both the French Culture Ministry and the Competition Council are looking into the passes, which angry indie exhibitors believe will put them out of business. There are also concerns that the passes may undermine the French film industry’s complex funding system, which plows a percentage of box office back into production.

For their part, the big exhibs claim the passes will bring a welcome boost to overall cinema attendance in France.

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