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July 14, 2006 (LBO) – The local cinema industry is trying to get a 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on theatre tickets lifted from August, top officials said Friday.

The government has agreed in principle to exempt theatre tickets from VAT, from August 1, and we have to now prepare a Cabinet memorandum to get approved, Ashoka Serasinghe, Chairman of the National Film Corporation told LBO.

The industry is also trying to get an entertainment tax of 10 percent on the selling price of tickets, charged by local authorities, reduced to five percent, Serasinghe said.

There are 173 theatres spread out across the island, with ticket prices varying widely from 200 rupees for a balcony ticket in Colombo to 75 rupees in more remote areas.

To make theatres more accessible, we have also made a general request to all theatres that they reserve front one or two rows, which is about 20 seats, for a ticket price of 20 rupees, Serasinghe said.

The Film Corporation has also launched five mobile theatre units, carrying equipment including projectors to rural villages for film screenings.

The units are available to screen films, with ticket pr