×

BERLIN — The battle between German exhibs and UIP over a controversial new pricing system heated up this week after the Assn. of German Film Theaters (HDF) warned its members that screening the distrib’s movies made little financial sense.

The HDF fell short of demanding a boycott of UIP films during a special meeting in Frankfurt, but it advised theaters to join forces against the distributor’s price hike.

National multiplex chains CinemaxX and Kinopolis boycotted UIP’s “The Hulk” when it opened July 3, but UIP was quick to settle the dispute by the following day.

UIP wants to raise minimum floor terms — the percentage of the box office that the distributor takes as a film rental — for nonurban exhibs from 47.5% to 52.5%, starting with “Hulk,” and up to 55% across the board from next year’s Stephen Sommers’ monster hunter pic “Van Helsing.”

HDF also has accused the distrib of not properly explaining its plans to theater owners, saying that none of its members had received proper notice or instruction about the new rental model.

“It’s not the way long-term business partners deal with one another,” the HDF added.

UIP aggravated the problem by demanding higher prices without consulting cinema owners, the org said, adding that the problem could have been avoided if the distrib had discussed its planned changes.

The HDF is hoping to negotiate terms with UIP or through a mediator. It also is developing its own pricing model, based on the number of viewers a pic attracts within the first week.

UIP could not be reached for comment.