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Exhib prices draw Thai probe

Gov't asks companies to post breakdown of costs

BANGKOK — The Thai government is probing three cinema operators after complaints about high prices for tickets and refreshments.

Major Cineplex Group, EGV Entertainment and SF Cinema City have been asked to post ticket prices in areas easy for moviegoers to see and provide a breakdown of all of their costs, including space rental fees, maintenance costs, salaries and even electricity and water bills. Seat prices range from $3 to $15.

“We questioned whether cinema operators had engaged in price collusion, because all operators charged about the same rate,” said Siripol Yodmuang-charoen, director general of the Internal Trade Dept.

The prices of theater snacks also are being probed. In a country where the minimum daily wage is $4, the price of a popcorn and soft-drink combo ranges from $2 to $3, as opposed to $1 in stores.

Movie screening is one of the 21 important services protected by law.