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New Cinema Sparks Price War

A customer buys ticket at the Warner Jinyi Cinema, in south China's Guangzhou, on Friday. The cinema, a joint venture between Warner Brothers International Cinemas and Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Co Ltd, opened on Thursday.


The cinema industry in Guangzhou is expected to see considerable competition as the city's first foreign-invested Warner Jinyi Cinema (WJC) has vowed to offer a competitive ticket price.


Yin Gang, director of the Market Development with China operations of the US-based Warner Brothers International Cinemas, said that the film ticket price will be set between 25-30 yuan (US$3-3.6) in the WJC in an effort to attract bigger audiences.


The cinema, which is jointly developed by Warner Brothers and Guangzhou Jinyi Film and Television Investment Co Ltd, opened to the public on Thursday.


According to the co-operative agreement signed early in July last year, both parties plan to develop a total of 10 state-of-the-art multiplex theatres in Guangzhou and other cities in China.


"Compared with the box office, the number of visitors to the cinema is among the top concerns for us," said Yin.


The cinema, with seven multi-functional digital cinema halls, is believed to be the first foreign-invested five-star cinema in this southern city.


At present, the city boasts another two five-star theatres, China Cinema and Feiyang Cinema. The regular price is set above 50 yuan (US$6) in these two cinemas.


"All equipment in the WJC has met international standards, and ensure visitors enjoyment when watching films," said Yin.


Warner Brothers has already developed a number of cinemas in other Chinese cities, including Tianjin and Nanning in Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.


The average ticket price there is also set between 25-30 yuan (US$3-3.6).


The number of visitors to the Warner-invested cinema in Tianjin ranked second among the nation's total in December, according to Yin.


Following the announcement of ticket prices in the WJC, other theatres in Guangzhou have said they would like to take "wait-and-see" attitudes, adding they would decrease the price based on the further development of the film market.


An unnamed official from China Cinema said yesterday that the cinema industry will be undoubtedly benefited if the WJC can stay with the price it promised.


"With more visitors coming to the theatres, the cinema industry as a whole is expected to see prosperous development in the near future," said the official.


In addition, the official suggested that film producers should decrease the price for cinemas to purchase films, in an effort to prevent disordered competition in the cinema market.


However, experts suggested theatres should also improve basic equipment and service to compete in the market.



(China Daily January 29, 2005)


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