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Argentina puts up barriers on foreign films

Goal is to help local films

BUENOS AIRES — Incaa, Argentina’s National Film Institute, implemented on Tuesday a scaled tax on foreign films aimed at making it harder for wide Hollywood releases to crowd out local fare.

Foreign films will pay the tax based on screen counts, the state department said in a resolution.

When a foreign film is released on 40 screens in Buenos Aires or surrounding suburbs, home to a third of the country’s 40 million people, a tax equivalent to 300 tickets will be charged. On 80 screens, the tax jumps to 1,200 tickets and continues rising in relation to the screen count, reaching 12,000 tickets on 161 screens or more. The tax is smaller for other parts of the country.

At an average ticket price of 30 pesos ($7.15), the tax will run between $2,145 and $85,800 depending on screen numbers.

Hollywood dominates 80%-85% of B.O., with big films like “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Rio” going out on 120 or more of the country’s 800 screens. Gross B.O. is expected to rise 32% to $215 million this year compared with 2010.

Incaa said the screen-packing limits choices for auds and makes it harder for local films to make a profit.

Argentina produces 100 features a year but most don’t surpass 10,000 admissions or even get a commercial release, limiting market share at 10%, in line with indie imports.

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