In its move to establish a fund that subsidizes the development of the local film industry, the Ministry of Culture is including a 5-percent movie ticket tax in its proposed amendment to Taiwan’s Motion Picture Act.
Other countries have taken a similar approach, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said in a meeting with local filmmakers and representatives of film trade associations to seek their opinions on the proposal.
In France, for example, there is an 11-percent tax on movie tickets that is used to subsidize the country's film industry, Lung said.
If Taiwan adopts a 5-percent tax, the revenues would be used to support the domestic film industry by providing subsidies for filmmakers and screenwriters, she said. This would encourage more local productions and boost Taiwan's film industry, the minister said.
The percentage of locally produced films in the Taiwan market is quite low (17.46 percent) compared with Japan, where domestic films make up 54.96 percent of the market, China 53.6 percent and South Korea 50.31 percent, Lung noted.
Representatives of Taiwan's film trade associations, however, were resistant to the Ministry's proposal, saying it will scare away moviegoers.
"The theaters will be forced to raise ticket prices, passing on the 5-percent tax to consumers," said Michael C.T. Liao, chairman of a film and drama trade association in New Taipei City.
Liao, who is also chairman of Showtime Cinemas, said that despite rising utility costs, his cinema has not raised movie ticket prices in the past 10 years for fear of losing customers.
Taiwanese director Wang Hsiao-ti, meanwhile, proposed a 3-percent tax on movie tickets and suggested an exemption of the remaining 2-percent tax for cinemas that hold promotional events for Taiwanese films.
Lung acknowledged that the proposal may encounter resistance but stated that it is a necessary measure to ensure long-term growth of the domestic film industry.