MK2 hikes price on pic pass

Increases to $16 from $13

PARIS — One of Paris’ controversial multi-access monthly cinema passes will up its price in June because it’s proving too popular.

Le Pass will increase from 98 francs to 118F ($13 to $16) per month for unlimited cinema access, cinema chain MK2 announced Saturday.

“At a cost of $13 and an average use of four-and-a-half times per month … the market is setting up a real system of selling at a loss,” MK2 said in a statement.

But the price increase will put the MK2/Gaumont pass at a disadvantage alongside its main competitors, UGC and Pathe, who are still selling their passes at $13.

Successful model

Le Pass was introduced by cinema chains Gaumont and MK2 and associated independent cinemas after the success of a similar pass, the Carte illimite, was launched in March 2000 by rival UGC.

Pathe, France’s other major cinema chain, launched its own pass last August in several major cities.

The French public has responded strongly. There are 60,000 subscribers to the MK2/Gaumont card, and UGC has an estimated 200,000 subscribers to its annual pass.

The passes have caused controversy because they undermine certain government-regulated film funding schemes, and indie exhibs worry that because they can’t offer the passes, they will be forced out of business.

“It’s been like an Exocet missile hitting the French regulatory body,” Eduardo Malone, Pathe’s director general, recently said about the arrival of the unlimited passes. He said that they should cost $18.