Reading Entertainment Australia is heading for the courts over the issue of access to first-release films according to The Age newspaper. Using its Market City cinema site in the heart of Sydney as its latest battle arena, it is claiming in the Federal Court that Roadshow Film Distributors is in breach of the Trade Practices Act and is behaving in a discriminatory and unfair manner.
Market City has been a controversial site throughout its short life because its proximity to Sydney's traditional inner city cinema strip meant that distributors could successfully argue that returns did not warrant the supply of first-run product - at least initially.
As part of its action, Reading has applied for an injunction demanding Roadshow supply new releases until the matter is heard in court. The cinema has repeatedly requested such films and was supplied with about a dozen films over Christmas. This has since ceased.
This latest move represents an escalation of the exhibition war already raging in Australia. US-owned Reading is the country's newest significant exhibitor and has continuously argued, and currently is via the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), that the big exhibitors are blocking access to sites.