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Moviegoers to Pay for Film Industry Support Plan

2006/01/27 | 49 views | Permalink | Source

The government will inject W400 billion (US$400 million) into the film industry over the next five years to compensate it for a cut in the screen quota that so far guaranteed it a comfortable 176 days a year in the movie theaters. Half the money is to come from a 5 percent levy on tickets.

Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea announced the plans Friday. He said the government will provide W200 billion in state funds in 2007 and 2008 and take legislative steps to implement the levy from Jan. 1 next year. It also promises to build more art house and documentary cinemas, support production and export of domestic films, set technological standards for digital film and improve conditions of industry professionals.

But the film industry says the levy will lead to an increase in theater admission fees, dismissing the ministry's assurance that ticket prices will not go up because cinemas stand to benefit from the halving of the screen quota. Theaters are miffed because the plan came as a bolt from the blue. "We only discovered that cinemas will have to provide 5 percent of the money needed to help the film industry when the minister made the announcement this morning", said a staffer with CJ CGV, the country's largest multiplex chain. "The government didn't discuss the matter with us and didn't even inform us in advance".

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