Tuesday, September 21, 2004

EasyCinema inks first-run film pact

EasyCinema inks first-run film pact

July 22, 2004

EasyCinema inks first-run film pact

By Stuart Kemp
LONDON -- Discount U.K. exhibitor easyCinema said Wednesday that it can now list first-run titles from all major distributors, including 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista International, Warner Bros. Pictures, Columbia TriStar and United International Pictures.

The one-theater operator said it has booked a slew of first-run titles from Fox including "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "I, Robot" and "Garfield: The Movie" in the coming weeks, while upcoming BVI films include "King Arthur," "Home on the Range" and "The Village." Warners also will be supplying the theater in Milton Keynes north of London with "Catwoman" and "New York Minute."

The deals follow agreements previously struck with Columbia TriStar International Film Distributors to book "Spider-Man 2" and with United International Pictures -- the overseas releasing arm of Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks -- for "Shrek 2."

But the first-run material has come as a compromise. Rather than having a scaled admission price linked to the level of demand for the movie, easyCinema said all tickets for the first-run product would be fixed at £4.50 ($8.27). That's about half the price of tickets at cinemas in central London.

Before this arrangement and the pact for "Shrek 2," easyCinema -- set up by Greek entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou -- linked the admission price to the level of demand and time of day.

A spokesman described the fact that the studio distribution arms had released first-run pictures to easyCinema as a "victory for the consumer."


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