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H.K. hardtops cut prices

UA Cinemas, Broadway Circuit hope to pull in peak auds

HONG KONG — The two biggest cinema chains have joined forces to cut prices two days a week to combat the the post-Chinese New Year slump.

The three-day holiday is a bonanza for local exhibs, but the slump that follows sometimes lasts until summer.

UA Cinemas and the Broadway Circuit have reduced ticket prices to $3.20 from $9.20 in peak times.

Box office takings may be down from their mid-1990s highs, but Don Meyer, director of UA parent Lark Entertainment, said the move wasn’t prompted by desperation. Annual returns have been tracking upwards for the first time in years.

“It’s the opposite — you drop the price, and you lure people that haven’t been to the cinema in a long time,” he said.

UA and Broadway mounted a similar campaign to combat piracy in 1997, with what they claimed were impressive results. They plan to run this promotion for at least four weeks.