Back in February, Chinese authorities made good on a promise to crack down on exhibitors who manipulate box office figures, banning nine movie theaters from screening new films. A further seven are now facing the same punishment. Those numbers may be a drop in the bucket in a country of over 18,000 screens, but it’s a sign the government is serious about keeping tabs on the booming, and heavily regulated, industry. On Monday, the China Film Producers’ Association and the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association issued a statement saying the theaters had used a dual software system that enabled them to sell tickets without registering the real takings to one uniform system, the Xinhua news agency reports. In January, State authority SAPPRFT issued a memo spelling out new regulations that demanded all commercial cinemas upgrade their software to a national digital ticketing platform before May 1. Increased scrutiny at the turnstiles is a reaction to what’s believed to be a long-held industry practice of hiding income from the government which takes a 3% value-added tax on revenues as well as a 5% film fund tax. The seven cinemas involved this week are facing an indefinite suspension. It’s not clear whether they were able to cash in on X-Men: Days Of Future Past‘s fantastic opening this weekend, nor if they will get to ride Godzilla‘s coattails when he arrives on June 13.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.