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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Quebec boycotts 'excessive' Force
Battle scene
Many Quebecois will not be seeing this scene
Many independent cinemas in Canada's Quebec province are boycotting Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in a row over money.

Operators have been angered by distributor 20th Century Fox's demands that they give 70% of box office receipts to the studio in the first three weeks of release.

The film only opened on 86 screens in Quebec, compared with summer rival Spider-Man's debut on 189 screens across the province.

We don't know yet if Asterix will beat Yoda

Nancy Deblois
Cinema manager
Owners were also angry that they would be obliged to keep the blockbuster on their main screens for eight weeks.

A typical box office split would usually be nearer 60-40 in favour of the studio for only the first week, one owner told Reuters.

It would then usually drop to a lower level in the subsequent weeks.

Cinema chains

"We have decided not to run it. It is blocking us," said Nancy Deblois, a manager of the Maison du Cinema in Sherbrooke, 95 miles east of Montreal.

"We don't want them to take our shirt off."

"Mainly big theatres in Montreal and Quebec City will be showing the movie," observed Jacques Foisy, an independent owner.

Canada's large cinema chains such as Famous Players, Cineplex Odeon and Guzzo will play Episode II, but it will be on virtually none of Quebec's 363 independent screens.

Asterix could prove to be a big hit
There has been speculation among owners that Star Wars could be given a close run by the locally much-hyped Asterix sequel.

"We have had much more demand about Asterix, Men in Black and Spider-Man," Deblois said.

Asterix and Obelix, starring Gerard Depardieu, is due on Quebec screens on 31 May and could be a surprise hit.

"We don't know yet if Asterix will beat Yoda," said Deblois, referring to the small, green, inarticulate mentor from the Star Wars franchise.

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