Hong Kong slashes ticket prices

Sale to aid ailing box office, will last until Dec.

SYDNEY — Hong Kong cinemas are slashing ticket prices by as much as 50% on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to lure in auds after the worst July at the box office in 10 years.

The initiative, embraced by all exhibs except AMC, started this week and will continue through Dec. 11.

“This should build attendances as the outlook for the fall films is not all that compelling,” UA Cinemas general manager Bob Vallone told Daily Variety. “We can’t wait for the Christmas films to open to breathe some life into the boxoffice.”

Exhibs united to offer all tickets for $HK25 ($3.20) on those two days, hoping to generate publicity from local newspapers and TV stations.

Grosses in the territory plunged by 40% in July. Vallone notes the Hong Kong B.O. has mostly

been on a downward spiral since 1993’s $200 million. There was a slight uptick last year to $133 million, driven largely by local blockbuster “Shaolin Soccer.”

UA Cinemas operates seven sites with 38 screens in Hong Kong and under the Studio City Cinema brand it has four locations with 22 screens in China.

Vallone said this summer’s releases were mostly sequels “and they didn’t work.” The average

summer pic grossed just $1.1 million, he added.

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