UCI Kinowelt strikes back at German film board

FFA canceled plans for $60 mil in funding

BERLIN -- Multiplex group UCI Kinowelt has struck back at the German Federal Film Board in an ongoing battle over a tax local exhibitors have to pay on cinema tickets.

In a statement Friday, UCI defended its decision to continue with a lawsuit against the tax, which it, and many German exhibitors, consider unfair. The exhibitor, a division of the Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, also denied the suit was hindering plans to finance the digital cinema rollout in Germany.

The FFA pointed the finger at UCI this week when it canceled its plans to provide around $60 million in funding towards an all-industry, $445 million plan to help German theaters pay for a digital upgrade. The FFA had offered the cash on the condition that UCI and other exhibitors drop their lawsuit.

In its statement, UCI said the national digitalization plan was "at an early state of evolution" and that if it has now been abandoned "it is solely at the instigation of the FFA." UCI also said its opposition to the FFA's ticket levy was not connected to the national digital plan.