世紀福克斯影片公司(Twentieth Century Fox)的高管們說，由於好萊塢和中國有關部門之間的分歧，該公司目前拒絕接受《少年派的奇幻漂流》(Life of Pi)大約2,300萬美元的中國票房分賬。
包 括20世紀福克斯在內的幾家電影公司的高管反對中影集團的增值稅規定。在其他國家，增值稅是在電影制作公司和電影院分賬之前從總票房收入中扣除的。電影公 司的高管們認為，中影集團的新規可能令他們未來幾年從世界增長最快的電影市場院線獲得的營收減少8%，損失可能達到數百萬美元。
不 過，在上周召開的一個由美國電影協會(Motion Picture Association of America)組織的美國電影制作公司會議上，20世紀福克斯的一名高管對在場的其他國際發行專業人士說，中影集團企圖通過新的增值稅規定，減少為去年 上映的《少年派的奇幻漂流》所支付的費用。20世紀福克斯認為中國支付的費用過少，拒絕在問題解決之前獲得分成。
《少 年派的奇幻漂流》是去年在中國上映的最叫座的影片之一，獲得了9,100萬美元的票房收入。由於去年達成的協議規定外國制片方可以獲得25%的票房收 入，20世紀福克斯的分成應該在2,300萬美元左右。根據聽取了解簡要情況介紹的人士說，中影集團的新規將使20世紀福克斯的分成減少大約200萬美 元。
繼 《少年派的奇幻漂流》之後在中國上映的一些美國電影的票房收入可能因為新的增值稅規定而減少，這些影片包括：索尼影視娛樂公司(Sony Pictures Entertainment)發行的《007:大破天幕殺機》(Skyfall)、時代華納公司(Time Warner Inc.)旗下華納兄弟(Warner Bros)的《霍比特人:意外旅程》(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)、華特-迪士尼公司(Walt Disney Co.)的《魔鏡仙蹤》(Oz: The Great and Powerful)和維亞康姆公司(Viacom Inc.)旗下派拉蒙影業(Paramount Pictures)的《特種部隊2：全面反擊》(G.I. Joe: Retaliation)。
好 萊塢的電影制作公司長期以來一直想要擴大進入中國的渠道，去年的協議被看做是這一努力過程中裡程碑式的進展。中國是全球第二大電影市場，預計到2020年 將成為第一大電影市場。除了提高外國電影制作公司的票房分成，協議還增加了在中國放映並分享票房收入的外國電影數量，從20部增加到了34部。
但 是此後，好萊塢進入中國的努力又經歷了一些挫折。去年夏天，中影集團在相同的檔期上映了幾部相似的電影，包括《黑暗騎士崛起》(The Dark Knight Rises)和《神奇蜘蛛俠》(The Amazing Spider-Man)。該公司還安排了長達一個月的“封鎖期”，在此期間，電影院不許放映外國電影。
BEN FRITZ / LAURIE BURKITT
Hollywood Pushes Back Against New China Tax
The dispute centers on a new value-added tax that China is in the process of imposing on a wide range of goods and services. When it comes to movie tickets, state-owned distributor China Film Group has recently sought to deduct the cost of the tax entirely from foreign producers' share of the box office, said several people involved in international film distribution.
The tax method is causing consternation in Hollywood, where it is seen as the latest in a series of efforts to limit American studios' ability to generate profits in China despite a deal last year that was supposed to open doors. The policy undercuts one of the provisions of that agreement, reached between the American and Chinese governments, which bumped up the percentage of ticket sales that foreign producers receive.
Executives from several studios including Fox are objecting to China Film's approach to dealing with the tax. In other countries, value-added taxes are taken out of gross box-office receipts, before the money is divided between studios and theaters. Studio executives believe China Film's new policy could reduce by 8% their theatrical revenue in coming years from the world's fastest-growing movie market, potentially costing them millions of dollars.
'This is a serious concern and we don't know when it will be resolved,' said one senior movie studio executive involved in the discussions.
The new tax has created confusion for many businesses operating in China, legal experts say. When a pilot program was rolled out in select cities last year, officials didn't specify whether it would apply to movie tickets. This month the government stated publicly that it would apply to cinemas, beginning in August.
But at a meeting of U.S. film studios organized by the Motion Picture Association of America last week, a senior executive from Fox told other international distribution professionals in attendance that China Film was attempting to reduce its payment on 'Life of Pi'岸released last year in China岸due to the new value-added tax. Rather than accept what it believes is an underpayment, the studio is refusing to take any money until the issue is resolved.
One movie industry expert in China said that due to the lack of clear rules, the amount of a tax any studio has to pay may depend on its ability to negotiate with China Film Group. The expert also noted that domestic studios are exempt from the tax unless they are working with foreign partners.
A spokesman for China Film Group declined to discuss to discuss tax-related agreements, but said he wasn't aware of any disputes with Hollywood studios. 'China Film Group always has good relationships with foreign studios, so as far as I'm concerned, there is no controversy,' said spokesman Jiang Defu.
A spokeswoman for Fox, which like The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp NWSA, declined to comment.
The MPAA has been involved in the dispute since last week's meeting, which was held at the Cinema-Con movie theater industry convention in Las Vegas. Studios and the MPAA are working to resolve the issue without involving the U.S. government.
'I'm well aware of the issue,' said Chris Dodd, the former U.S. senator who is CEO of the trade association. 'We're working on it and the studios are.'
'Pi' was one of the most successful films last year in China, grossing $91 million. As last year's agreement allowed foreign producers to receive a 25% share of box office, Fox's share of the 'Pi' box office should translate to nearly $23 million. China Film's imposition of the new tax would reduce Fox's take by approximately $2 million, according to people briefed on the situation.
Executives at two other studios who attended the Las Vegas meeting said they agreed with Fox's position. They said they were concerned that if Fox accepted the lower payment, that could become a precedent that would impact the entire industry.
American films that opened in China after 'Life of Pi' and are awaiting their cut of box office grosses in the country include 'Skyfall,' released by Sony Pictures Entertainment, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co.'s 'Oz: The Great and Powerful,' and 'G.I. Joe: Redemption,' distributed by Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures.
Nearly all the foreign films that play in China come from Hollywood. Spokesmen for Sony, Warner Bros., Paramount and Disney declined to comment.
Last year's agreement was seen as marking major progress in Hollywood studios' long-running effort to gain greater access to the world's second largest movie market-projected to be No. 1 by 2020. Aside from the increase in box-office share allowed for foreign producers, the agreement increased the number of foreign films allowed to play in China and share in box office revenue from 20 to 34.
But a series of setbacks have followed. Last summer, China Film opened several similar movies, including 'The Dark Knight Rises' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man,' on the same dates. It also imposed month long 'blackout periods' during which no foreign pictures were allowed to play in Chinese theaters.
Those moves were widely perceived as an effort to limit the total box office of imported films, which were far outpacing local productions. This year, the trend has been the opposite.
Executives at Sony Pictures were shocked earlier this month when Chinese authorities pulled 'Django Unchained' from theaters the day it started playing. The studio made minor changes to satisfy censors and on Friday said it would be rereleased in China on May 12.
The Hollywood executives concerned about the new tax dispute said they are hopeful it will be resolved soon, but none expect to enjoy smooth sailing going forward.
'China's China and there is always some issue,' said one.
BEN FRITZ / LAURIE BURKITT