Russia Proposes to Make Tickets for Hollywood Films More Expensive Than Local Fare

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -A general view of Red square and Kremlin-Getty-H 2016
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Ticket prices for Hollywood pics should be more expensive than for local movies, says culture minister.

Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has proposed to make tickets for Hollywood movies more expensive than those for homegrown films to protect the local industry.

"We are convinced that new protectionist measures should be introduced to protect the Russian film industry from unfair competition on the part of Hollywood," Medinsky was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax.

According to Medinsky, one way to protect local movies from Hollywood competition would be via higher prices for Hollywood films. "Imagine what it would be like if a car dealer offered local and U.S. cars at the same price," said Medinsky. "Now, tickets for Hollywood and local movies cost the same, 230 rubles [$4]."

The figure cited by the minister was a little lower than the average ticket price for 2016, 252 rubles ($4.44), according to the main local trade journal, Exhibitor's Bulletin.

Medinsky did not specify how much more expensive tickets for Hollywood movies should be than those for local ones. Sources said that he was first looking for industry support for the general idea before figuring out specifics.

The culture ministry's previous initiatives aimed at protecting local filmmakers from Hollywood competition did not take long to be enacted, such as a 2015 regulation allowing the agency to set dates for all film releases, giving preference to local movies over Hollywood releases in cases of date clashes.

However, protectionist steps have thus far failed to boost the box-office performance of local films in a noticeable way.

In 2016, the box-office share of homegrown movies was 18 percent, compared with 15 percent in 2015 and 17 percent in 2014. The culture ministry has been saying that the share should be at least 20 percent.

Recently, the government, unhappy with how cash released to filmmakers fails to translate into box-office success, introduced stricter conditions for state support for film projects.