A group of German exhibitors are continuing their boycott of UIP releases because of the introduction of a new rentals system by the distributor.
Members of the interest group Interessengemeinschaft 47.7 (IG 47.7) - which represents medium sized German exhibitors - boycotted UIP's release of American Pie: The Wedding over the weekend of August 21-24.
The group's boycott meant that the film could not be shown on 504 screens at 144 sites owned by members of IG 47.7.
Despite the boycott, the film performed well, opening at number one with $4.8m from 635 screens. However, this was significantly down from the September 2001 opening of American Pie 2 which took $8.5m in its opening weekend from 814 screens.
The interest group argues that UIP has not shown any readiness to negotiate its new rental charges and claims that the rentals policy will lead to cinemas closing.
At the end of June, UIP said it would take a 47.5% cut from the opening weeks of Blue Crush and Ned Kelly. This would rise to 50% for another six films including The Inlaws and Luther, to 52.5% for three films - The Hulk, Sinbad and American Pie 3 - and, finally, to 55% for the release of Van Helsing in May 2004.
IG 47.7's exhibitors noted that the distributor's cut would be reduced in eight of the 12 releases in the second week, but for four films a reduction to 47.5% only came in the fifth week of release.
UIP's general manager Paul Steinschulte has responded in interviews to criticism of the new scheme by saying "the new system is a genuine incentive to hold films longer in the programme."
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