Taiwan To Tax Cinema Tickets

Island has lacked consistent support or policy from gov't; Taipei launches Film Council

BUSAN – Taiwan may impose a 5% tax on all cinema tickets sold in the island territory. The proceeds will be channeled into a fund to help support the local movie industry.

The proposal was put forward Wednesday by the Ministry of Culture at a meeting with local film-makers and industry bodies. The ministry positioned the move as an amendment to the existing Motion Picture Act.

It said that the tax would be levied on ticket sales for all films, domestic and foreign. The support fund would provide subsidies for Taiwanese film-makers and screenwriters, and encourage them to make more films.

Domestic market share for local titles this year stands at 17%. That is considerably lower than the 60% currently enjoyed by some Asian neighbors; Korean films in South Korea and the more than 50% enjoyed by Chinese films in China. But it is higher than the scores for local films in Singapore or Australia.

Cinema operators said that the tax would have to be passed on to customers and would lead to an increase in ticket prices, something many operators have avoided for several years for fear of deterring audiences.

Popular on Variety

Countries elsewhere also have ticket or entertainment taxes. Some funnel the tax revenue into central government coffers and while others keeping the proceeds apart and recycle them back into the local film industry. For decades France has operated an 11% tax which feeds back into local film through the Centre national de la Cinematographie et de l’Image Animee.

Taiwan has rarely operated a consistent policy line towards its film industry. Coinciding with a revival in commercial cinema, the central government offered prizes and other incentives in the late 2000s. But in some cases the funds were unexpectedly exhausted and in others they have been reduced or halted. The island’s iconic director Hou Hsiao-hsien waited for years before sufficient government funds were available for him to begin shooting of his big budget “Assassins.” Now it has reportedly halted.

Responsibility for film in the island last year passed from the Government Information Office (GIO), a regulator and mouthpiece for the regime, to the Ministry of Culture which set up a new Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development (BAMID).

In Busan earlier this week Taiwan held a well-attended party to celebrate its half dozen films selected for different sections of the South Korean festival. Film-makers in attendance included Taiwan-based Tsai Ming-liang, China’s Jia Zhangke and Hong Kong’s Tsui Hark.

Earlier this week it emerged that, in a separate administrative reshuffle, the Taipei Film Commission is to be replaced by a new Taipei Film Council. The new body, to be headed by existing TFC head Jennifer Jao, will launch on Oct. 29. The new Taipei Film Council is also expected to absorb responsibility for running the Taipei Film Festival, which is held annually in June.

More Film

  • A man walks past a closed

    China Box Office Vanishes as Government Expands Emergency Virus Response Measures

    Measures to limit travel and the closure of most cinemas almost completely eliminated box office takings in China on what should have been the country’s busiest movie-going weekend of the year. The pain is set to continue. The Chinese government extended the current public holidays by an additional three days as a means to slow the [...]

  • "The Iron Lady," "Shame" Writer Abi

    "The Iron Lady," "Suffragette" Writer Abi Morgan Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

    “The Iron Lady” and “Shame” writer Abi Morgan has revealed she is battling breast cancer. The 51-year-old British writer shared news of her diagnosis during a screening of the second season premiere of BBC One and Sundance TV drama “The Split,” which is produced by “Chernobyl” outfit Sister Pictures and Little Chick. Highlighting that it [...]

  • Amanda Kernell

    Sweden’s Amanda Kernell on Sundance World Premiere ‘Charter’

    “Charter,” Swedish director-writer Amanda Kernell’s eagerly anticipated second feature after the multi-prize-winning “Sámi Blood,” world premieres in Sundance and moves on to Göteborg and the Dragon competition for best Nordic film. What inspired “Charter?” It’s a personal story, as are all my films.  I come from a family with generations of divorced parents actually. So, I [...]

  • Feels Good Man

    'Feels Good Man': Film Review

    When is a cartoon frog not just a cartoon frog? When he’s Pepe, the brainchild of artist Matt Furie, who in 2005 created the laid-back anthropomorphic amphibian for a comic about post-collegiate slacker life, only to subsequently watch as the character was adopted as a symbol of white nationalist hate by the alt-right and Donald [...]

  • The Nest

    'The Nest': Film Review

    All work and no play makes Rory O’Hara a dull boy — which is to say, one can scarcely overlook the connections between Sean Durkin’s subtly unsettling second feature, “The Nest,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” even if this is by far the more tedious of the two movies. While the obsessive dad Law plays [...]

  • Tiziana Soudani

    Tiziana Soudani, Prominent Swiss Producer, Dies

    Swiss producer Tiziana Soudani, who through her Amka Films shepherded prizewinning films by prominent directors from nearby Italy, such as Alice Rohrwacher and Silvio Soldini, as well as by emerging talents in Switzerland and Africa, has died after a struggle with brain cancer. She was in her mid 60s, though her exact age was not immediately verifiable. [...]

  • Time's Up U.K. Teams With British

    British Stars Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel Compile 'Alternative BAFTA' Nominees List

    British stars including Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel and Gemma Arterton have contributed to an ‘Alternative BAFTAs’ list of nominees that honors talent overlooked by this year’s awards. The campaign is organized by Time’s Up U.K., which is rolling out a social media blitz this week in the lead-up to Sunday’s BAFTA awards honoring the women [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content