A stand-off between leading Spanish exhibitors and BuenaVista over the local release of Scary Movie 4 could have ramificationsfor the majors in Spain.
Four of Spain's biggest exhibition chains - Cinesa, YelmoCineplex and the newly merged Abaco-Cinebox - have refused to carry ScaryMovie 4 because of a disagreement over rental fees and conditions, which reportedlystart with more than 50% of first-week receipts.
The Spanish exhibitors' federation FECE has now weighed in,saying it may examine whether there have been infractions of an anti-trustcourt's landmark ruling on May 10 that found five multinational distributorsguilty of price fixing and other anti-competitive practices in Spain.
The ruling last month in a case originally brought by thefederation in 2003 ordered Disney/Buena Vista, Sony Pictures, Hispano Fox, UIPand the now defunct joint venture Warner Sogefilms to pay $3m (Euros 2.4m) eachin fines.
It also required them to abstain from the same practices inthe future.
"FECE does not rule out lodging a second formalcomplaint with the Competition Defense Service," the group said, addingthat it also holds the Spanish Ministry of Culture and its film institute ICAAlegally responsible for not pursuing infractions.
The May 10 decision clearly appears to have boosted theconfidence of exhibitors in their relations with the majors. It remains to beseen if further summer releases from Buena Vista or other majors will facesimilar boycotts in Spain.
Although the exhibitors boycotting Scary Movie 4 representclose to 1,200 of just over 4,000 screens in Spain, Buena Vista reported thefilm still went out Friday on 400 copies. But the distributor had to market awebpage, dondeverla.com ("where to see it"), listing the cinemaswhere the film is screening in each province of Spain.