• Kyodo News

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Toho Cinemas Ltd., the nation’s biggest operator of movie theater complexes, plans to cut ticket prices in spring 2012 to boost audience numbers, company officials said Wednesday.

The admission price for customers aged 18 and older will be lowered to ¥1,500 from ¥1,800, while people under 18 will be charged ¥1,000, a substantial cut for high school students who now pay ¥1,500, the officials said.

The new fees will be tried out in six prefectures for about a year before extending them nationwide.

“We hope to work out a fee system that will be reasonable for movie producers, distributors and film fans,” Toho Cinemas President Takashi Nakagawa said.

Movie fans are dissatisfied with the ¥1,800 charge amid the current deflation, he said.

Toho Cinemas operates about 20 percent of the nation’s film screens. The move could cause its rivals to rethink their pricing policies, industry observers said.

The discount for people aged 60 and older, who now pay ¥1,000, may be abolished or the age may be raised, Toho said.

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