Local movie theatres protest Disney raising rental fees
Avengers: Age of Ultron is flying high in the UK, with the superhero flick taking $27.3 million in box office revenue to become Marvel’s biggest opening in Britain. The film took $9.4 million on the Saturday alone — the best single day for Disney or any superhero film in the country, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was also the UK’s biggest opening weekend of the year — beating Fifty Shades of Grey’s previous record.
THE BOYCOTT HAS HIT 686 SCREENS IN 193 TOWNS
However, while the film‘s European success is good news for distributor Disney, not everyone is welcoming Ultron with open arms. In Germany, smaller movie theaters are boycotting the film in protest of Disney’s decision to raise rental fees from 47.7 to 53 percent of ticket sales. According to Deutsche Welle, the boycott has affected 686 screens in 193 small towns. In addition to raising the rental fee, Deutsche Welle reports that Disney also cut the amount of money it usually contributes to advertising.
“We are worried — particularly about eastern Germany,” Karl-Heinz Meier, a spokesperson for cinema advocacy group I.G. Nord told Deutsche Welle. “When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theaters to close.” Meier says that Disney gave 12 days’ notice about the price hike, which The Hollywood Reporter says brings the rental fee paid by smaller cinemas in line with larger chains’ costs. Despite the boycott, however, the film still opened on more than 840 screens in Germany and took in revenue of $9.35 million — a record for a Marvel film in the country. Age of Ultron opens in the US on May 1st.