A full blown cinema ticket price warhas broken out in South Africa.

Nu Metro, one of the country'sleading exhibitors, has slashed its tickets to just $2 (R12) from $5.75 (R35).

Themove follows last week's decision by South Africa's biggestexhibitor, Ster Kinekor, to cut its prices to $2.3(R14) at the majority of its cinemas nationwide - also down from $5.75.

Nu Metro has undercut SterKinekor's prices by $0.30 (R2) and the price will apply to all shows inall its cinemas across the country. Nu Metro owns 28 cinemas with 223 screens.

Prakash Desai, group operations andfinance director of Johnnic Communications, which owns Nu Metro, said thecompany had no intention of losing the market share gained in recent months toother players.

Nu Metro operations director SanjaySeeth cautioned that the company did not believe that the price cuts weresustainable in the long-term.

"The price of movie tickets isa complex issue. Like the price of all products and services, they have to beproperly priced, for both the consumer and for suppliers to maintain a viablebusiness model," said Seeth.

However,Ster-Kinekor CEO Ferdi Gazendam told ScreenDaily.com that they had beenrunning pilot projects at discounted prices for two years. "We'relooking at this as a long-term strategy, we've done the figures and havecreated new systems and over 150 new staff to cope with the expected volume sothat it can be sustainable."

Theprice war is good news for the South African consumer and the local industrywhich, although it has seen recent recognition overseas, still fails to attractenough audiences at home.