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Films (Block Booking)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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13.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the practice contrary to the provisions of the Cinematograph Acts of block booking whereby film renters insist on exhibitors booking several films at once, and of renters insisting on exhibitors agreeing to pay the Eady levy before they can have films; and whether he will take action to stop these practices.

No, Sir. The Cinematograph Films Acts do not prohibit the practice known as block booking; nor do the Acts regulate in any way the administration of the British Film Production Fund, which is a voluntary scheme run by the industry itself.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that what exhibitors mean by the practice of block booking is the system under which renters compel them to take a large number of films in order to get one or two films which they want? Is it not also a fact that the Eady levy is supposed to be voluntary, and is it not therefore wrong to make it compulsory to pay that levy before a man can obtain films?

Block booking, as described by my hon. Friend, is not, I understand, barred by the Cinematograph Films Acts.