Russian Exhibitor: Tax on Hollywood Films Would Lead to Theater Closures, Higher Ticket Prices
But Russia's culture minister supports the government proposal, saying "I absolutely don't understand why our tax system should support Hollywood."
A big Russian exhibitor is warning that a planned new tax on tickets for Hollywood and other foreign films would lead to the closure of theaters.
"These measures would lead to a decline in the number of viewers and closures of a huge number of theaters," Igor Dobrovolsky, president of movie theater chain Luxor, one of the biggest in the country, was quoted as saying by the Russian News Service.
According to Dobrovolsky, the idea of introducing a tax on tickets for foreign movies contradicts the government's policies aimed at supporting the national film industry. He said the tax would inevitably lead to price hikes for all tickets and, therefore, viewers would lose interest in watching movies in theaters.
The price of an average movie ticket could go up by 30 percent if the tax was introduced, Dobrovolsky said.
Meanwhile, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, known for his anti-Hollywood stance, welcomed the idea. "I absolutely don't understand why our tax system should support Hollywood," he was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax, adding that a final decision on the tax could be made within a month.
The idea of introducing a tax on Hollywood and other foreign films was first floated earlier this week by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Last year, the idea of introducing quotas for foreign films in a bid to support the Russian film sector was seriously discussed, but eventually abandoned. However, poor box office performance by the lion's share of Russian releases since the beginning of this year seems to have pushed the government to come up with other protectionist ideas.