More films imported by private firms
Young audience at Megastar Hanoi. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh in January asked the government to change some articles in the Cinema Law, including loosening regulations on cooperation with foreign and overseas Vietnamese partners to produce movies and movie import-export.
In a meeting of the National Assembly on March 12, deputies also discussed the removal of import quotas on movies in adherence to Vietnam's WTO commitments.
There are around ten private entertainment and media companies that import films, averaging 120 films a year. The biggest importers are Megastar and Galaxy, with over 40 films per year on average each.
Hollywood action movies overwhelm the market
According to current regulations, only companies that have box offices are allowed to import films. However, some companies have hired cinematheques and imported movies.
Megastar has six box office complexes in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, HCM City, and Bien Hoa while Galaxy has two in HCM City. Galaxy is about to have box offices in Hanoi.
Megastar started importing films in April 2006, with around 40 movies per year. This year it plans to buy 50 foreign films to serve its expanded system of cinemas. Its major partners are Buena Vista International (BVI), Universal, Dreamworks, and Paramount.
There are two forms of importing films: definitive purchase and paying based on revenues, after deducting distribution and advertising expenditures.
Megastar applies the second mode while Galaxy employs both, with main partners being Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Sony, and New Line Cinema. Most of the films they import are Hollywood products.
Problems when import quota cancelled
Megastar and Galaxy’s film import plans may not change much in the near future because the state doesn’t control the number of imported movies, only the contents. However, it is difficult to ensure that Vietnamese movies account for 20% of the total films introduced at box offices, because the number of locally-made films is very few. The tax rate imposed on both local and foreign films is five percent.
Vietnam doesn’t classify movies based on age (it only recognises two kinds: widely-distributed and films for audiences of 16 and upwards) so imported films are not diverse.
There is another matter: Who will check the age of audience members? Only Megastar checks ID cards of ticket buyers when it sells tickets for films for audiences of 16 and upwards.
The removal of import quotas is said will not have a big influence on film importers, but it will create positive effects in the long term.
The Marketing Manager of Galaxy, Do Son Duong, said that despite economic crisis, more people are going to box offices. Galaxy will build more cinemas in Hanoi. The company has also decided to produce two celluloid films for the lunar New Year 2010, entitled “Snow White’s Diary” and “Don’t Turn round When You Love”.
Before 1975, there were 45 companies importing and distributing films; 52 producing films; and 158 box offices, including 52 in Saigon alone. At that time, the ratio of imported films/locally-produced films was 3/1.
Source : vietnamnet.vn
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