Pix banned from Macho's hardtops in competish dispute

This article was updated April 4, 2004 at 12:06 p.m.

MADRID — Pre-eminent Spanish exhibber Enrique Gonzalez Macho is pulling all Warner Bros. pics from his cinemas.

As Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapater’s Socialists prepare to take over in Spain, Macho is widening the media debate about future state film policy from production issues to U.S. studios’ allegedly abusive practices in distribution and exhibition.

The move — which went into effect Friday — comes after Madrid’s Cinesa Proyecciones hardtop began screening Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” on March 26 — eight days after it opened at Macho’s Roxy B, located directly across the street.

Macho claims he hadn’t been notified of the competition.

Movies involved in the boycott include “Education,” which was unspooling at 12 Macho hardtops, “Mystic River,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Taking Lives.” WB was taken aback by the move.

Macho “will be offered every single movie we have. He’s one of our favorite exhibitors,” Enrique Posner, deputy general manager of Warner Sogefilms, told Daily Variety.

WB has been moving to find new theater slots for its Macho-handled prints.

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