battles with Cinecity for increased cinema charges
With the dawn of the New Year, the National Film Corporation had
to initiate an investigation to a sudden increase of ticket prices
in a cinema in Colombo.
Film Corporation had received complaints that the ticket prices
in the Cinecity multi-complex cinema, Maradana were increased to
Rs 200 from April 14 to 25.
the complaint a team was sent to investigate why ticket prices were
increased without obtaining prior permission from the Film Corporation.
Asked about this the Chairman of the NFC, Sunil S. Sirisena said,
“This is completely against the Film Corporation Law. No theatre
owner can increase the price without due consultation and approval
by the Film Corporation. An investigation team was sent as soon
as we heard about the increase.”
Chairman also said that the Cinecity cinema is not paying the entertainment
levy stating that it is exempted as it was opened under a BOI project.
According to the National Film Corporation Act every theatre is
empowered to levy Rs. 3.10 per ticket as entertainment tax.
the allegation of the increase of ticket prices the Chief Executive
Officer of the Cinecity, Mr. Buddhi Keerthisena said that his cinema
complex was not bound to pay the levy, as it was started under a
BOI project and as such the Cinecity comes under BOI regulations.
said that the cinema was a Rs, 120 million investment. Mr. Keerthisena
also said that the NFC has no authority to enforce a ticket price
structure covering Cinecity. He said that the price increase was
for a limited number of days and that there are other cinemas which
charge more than that amount.
Mr. Keerthisena also accused the NFC of its step motherly treatment
to Cinecity. Buddhi Keerthisena said that NFC originally agreed
to provide Sinhala films but they failed to do so and offered Tamil
films which we rejected. Now a misunderstanding has arisen between
the NFC and the Cinecity consequent to this.
Mr. Keerthisena said he was willing to pay the levy which was not
paid so far if there is legal grounds and if the BOI instructs him
to do so. When questioned about the exorbitant prices in certain
cinema’s in Colombo, Mr. Sirisena said these theatres which
were rated as “special theatres” claim that they have
extra facilities like latest sound systems, air conditioning and
they also have to pay various taxes to the municipality. This price
increase is a means of overcoming operational overheads.
about the criteria for ticket price increases, “We don’t
just give our approval to any cinema which claims to have these
facilities. We send a team to inspect the standards and give approval
only when the facilities are satisfactory” said the Chairman,
the other problems faced by the Corporation are the importation
of films that are misleading the patrons.” Recently a film
with the suggestive title “In the bedroom” was imported
but this was stopped from being screened as it was misleading and
even the title was misused to attract the public.
about the other challenges faced by the NFC the Chairman said, “We
are going to completely stop the importation of soft porn movies
dubbed in Tamil.”
questioned about films showing violent scenes, the Chairman said
that the Censor Board would give critical attention to scenes depicting
violence just as much as the censoring of obscene scenes in films
that are imported into the country.
Corporation intends regulating the standard of films that are imported
to the country to suit our cultural socio-economic values.