Hoyts agrees to employee instructions, Reading's legal costs

SYDNEY — Rival exhibs Hoyts and Reading Entertainment Australia settled their court battle over cut-price tickets Monday.

Reading took action after Hoyts ordered its cinema managers in New South Wales to remove a discount ticket coupon that Reading inserted in the December-January issue of Filmink, a mag distributed free at Oz theaters.

The card allowed readers to buy two tickets at Reading cinemas for $A8.50 ($4.42) each, usable three times (Daily Variety, Feb. 4).

Reading alleged that their removal was “un-Australian behavior” in an attack aimed at Hoyts’ owner Kerry Packer and senior Hoyts execs.+

Announcing the settlement, Reading said Hoyts had given written instructions to employees not to remove, deface, alter or tamper with any Reading ads in Filmink and had agreed to pay Reading’s legal costs.

Reading Oz chief exec Neil Pentecost said, “We have always been happy to compete on a level playing field. But this sort of behavior took business competition to a new and totally unacceptable level.”

Hoyts declined to comment.

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