Dis­trib­u­tor ac­cused of fid­dling fig­ures

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

China’s film au­thor­i­ties have sus­pended the li­cence of a dis­trib­u­tor that in­flated box of­fice fig­ures for Hong Kong mar­tial arts movie Ip Man 3.

The third in­stal­ment of the fran­chise star­ring Don­nie Yen and for­mer boxer Mike Tyson, opened in main­land China on March 4 and soon at­tracted al­le­ga­tions of fraud af­ter it re­port­edly earned more than 500 mil­lion yuan (Dhs283 mil­lion) in just four days.

The movie’s dis­trib­u­tor, Da y i n m u , which is also known as Bei­jing Max Screen, ad­mit­ted to hav­ing bought 56 mil­lion yuan’s worth of tick­ets, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

“The con­spir­a­tors fab­ri­cated more than 7,600 screen­ings of the film that they claimed gen­er­ated 32 mil­lion yuan in ticket sales,” Xin­hua added.

It cited China’s film bureau un­der the coun­try’s broad­cast­ing reg­u­la­tor.

“Th­ese kinds of is­sues could be con­sid­ered in­evitable in a young in­dus­try, but box of­fice fraud has be­come so se­ri­ous that it is al­ready harm­ing Chi­nese cinema,” Zhang Hongsen, head of the film bureau, was quoted as say­ing.

The bureau or­dered the com­pany to sus­pend dis­tri­bu­tion for a month while it “rec­ti­fies all mal­prac­tices” and gave for­mal warn­ings to three elec­tronic tick­et­selling groups in­volved in the fraud, as well as 73 cin­e­mas, Xin­hua said.

Chi­nese cin­e­mas and dis­trib­u­tors have been ac­cused of fak­ing ticket sales in the past, for ex­am­ple by buy­ing up tick­ets or count­ing some of the earn­ings of one film as those of an­other.

The pro­duc­ers of one of China’s high­est-gross­ing movies, Mon­ster Hunt, ad­mit­ted last year to buy­ing tick­ets worth 40 mil­lion yuan, which it said was for free screen­ings for se­nior cit­i­zens and oth­ers.

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