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Oz cinemas slash tix

Exhibs hope price will nab auds

SYDNEY — Australia’s three major circuits have slashed their Tuesday ticket prices, aiming to stimulate cinemagoing after a 20% drop in January.

Greater Union and Village Cinemas cut their ducats to A$5 ($4) from the already-discounted $7.60 Feb. 15. Hoyts initially went down to $4.80 but matched its rivals on Feb. 22.

Hoyts and GU advertised the cheap prices would be offered until the Tuesday before Easter, but Village managing director John Iozzi tells Variety he has not set a cut-off date, noting, “If we see business is picking up, I don’t see why we would change it.”

Iozzi is convinced rampant video piracy in Melbourne is harming Village’s B.O. and is sure the $4 tickets will win back some of those folks who have been buying cheap, pirated DVDs.

“With the whole (exhib) industry in a downturn, we need to reignite interest in cinemagoing,” he adds.

Some distribs complain the discount is too low and there will have to be a big bump in admissions to offset the lower price.

UIP Australia managing director Mike Selwyn applauds the exhibs’ initiative, which is backed by marketing campaigns, but believes a price of $5.60 would have been just as effective.

“We need a price point that gets people’s attention,” says GU topper Jim Collier.

Indie exhibs say they won’t be copying the chains. “It’s a ridiculous price, too dramatic,” one indie sniffs. “When prices go up again there will be an outcry.”

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