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December 26, 2011

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Christmas spirit soured by festive price hikes

SCROOGE-LIKE cinema and restaurant bosses made Christmas Eve treats too expensive for many Shanghai residents.

Cinemagoers planning to see the season's most popular movies - Zhang Yimou's "The Flowers of War" and "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate," directed by Hark Tsui - were asked to pay as much as 150 yuan (US$24) at some big cinemas.

Usually, a ticket to a standard movie costs between 60 and 80 yuan, while admission to a 3D production is around 80 to 100 yuan.

Among those dissuaded by the festive price hike was 22-year-old Typh Pei. "Me and my girlfriend reached the cinema, saw the prices, hesitated for a while and thought better of it," said 22-year-old Pei.

Wu Hehu, vice manager of Shanghai United Cinema Circuit, said movie ticket prices went up before the Christmas period. "The Flowers of War" is more than two hours long and "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" is a 3D movie, so ticket prices are higher than for other movies.

Meanwhile, residents complained that plans for a Christmas Eve dinner left them with a sour taste.

Some diners who booked a table online were told just before Christmas Eve that they could only choose expensive set meals, rather than order whatever dishes they wanted.

The Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection said restaurants should have advised customers earlier.


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