French move to limit pic passes

New rule sets price, opens up passes to small exhibitors

PARIS — French indie exhibs and arthouses, directors and producers are crying victory over new legislation to restrict unlimited-entry cinema passes.

The new rule, added to a bill in the lower house of parliament Jan. 24, requires a price to be set for each cinema entry. This means authorities can calculate the percentage of ticket intake channeled back to the industry under French law.

It also forces large exhibitors, who introduced the $14-a-month cards last March, to open up the passes to small exhibitors and guarantee them a cut of the take.

The Assn. of Directors & Producers (ARP) and the French Assn. of Art Houses (AFCAE) say the move “maintains balance among exhibitors and guarantees creative diversity.”

Patrick Brouiller, president of the arthouse org, tells Variety that if the new bill means the end of the cards, “so much the better.”

The major exhibitors have refused to comment on the bill.