8,000 people expected for massive Deathly Hallows event screening on July 12

Warner Bros’ plans for a record-breaking French 3D premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows ­– Part 2 for 8,000 people at the Bercy sports arena in Paris on July 12 have prompted fierce protests from France’s main distributor and director associations.

The groups say tickets sold for the premiere will not be subject to France’s cinema ticket tax because the screening is not taking place in a cinema theatre and also claim that the scale of the event will impact box office takings in the Ile de France region over the period.

“This premiere will gather 8,000 spectators at €25 a ticket, representing takings of €200,000, but will not be subject to the same tax obligations applied to tickets sold in cinema theatres,” the directors’ society the SRF and the Agency for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema (Acid) said in a joint statement.

French cinema tickets are normally subject to a 17% tax, 10% of which goes to France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC), which then redistributes the proceeds to the film industry in the form of subsidies. Tickets sold for the Bercy premiere will be subject instead to value added tax of some 19%.

“It (the premiere) strikes at the very foundations of the redistribution system which funds France’s rich cinematic landscape,” SRF and Acid said.

“It will deprive cinema theatres, particularly in the Ile de France region, of ticket sales and spectators. It will deprive the CNC of tax usually levied on each ticket sold in a theatre to feed the “communal cup” and support French cinema in its entirety, from production to exhibition,” the statement continued.

The SRF and Acid declaration followed a similar statement from the association of writers, directors and producers (ARP) last week.

Tickets for the record-breaking Harry Potter premiere, to be attended by as yet unannounced cast members, sold out within an hour of being released at the end of April, Warner Bros said in a statement last month.

Hype over the premiere has led to a secondary market, with tickets currently being offered for between €30 and €75 on e-Bay France.