Pair resolve row over unlimited access

Two of France’s biggest movie theater chains, UGC and MK2, have come to an agreement over unlimited access passes after months of wrangling.

The CNC, France’s national industry regulatory body, has agreed to four proposals submitted by UGC, France’s second largest chain, to resolve both exhibi-tors’ grievances, especially over the percentages they should be paying distributors.

The new Le Pass card will allow holders of MK2 or UGC cards access to cinemas in either chain for the same price as each chain’s existing schemes, e19.80 ($27.35). The two exhibitors have 540 screens combined.

UGC also plans to create regional unlimited access cards for use in 10 cities, excluding Paris, with a minimum monthly fee of $24.85.

In June, MK2 director Martin Karmitz said that his company would no longer participate in the Le Pass scheme, which MK2 had been running with Gaumont and Pathe, since the passes were no longer profitable. The existing scheme will finish Nov. 1.

UGC announced in June a two-person unlimited pass for a monthly fee of $48.30.

There are an estimated 280,000 unlimited access cards in circulation in France. These accounted for an estimated 13 million admissions in 2006, more than 7% of total theater ticket sales.

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