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Theaters offering cut rates

Area residents can now see first-run movies for a little less money, provided they catch Friday twilight or Tuesday screenings at selected theaters.

The Cineplex Odeon theater chain this week began slashing Tuesday admissions to all Universal Pictures releases by half. The all-day, Tuesday-only deal means admission to Fried Green Tomatoes at the University Collection in Tampa costs $2.75 instead of $5.50.

On Friday, Cobb Theaters instated a half-price Friday-twilight-only admission policy at the Pinellas Square 3 and the Pinellas 6 in Pinellas Park. Admission between 4 and 6 p.m. now is $2.75.

The discounts are meant to increase business during lull periods. Cineplex Odeon's new prices also are due to its ownership: MCA Inc., Universal's parent company, owns 49 percent of the 1,716-screen Canadian-based theater chain.

Cineplex Odeon's and Cobb's biggest competitor was not impressed.

"AMC offers this type of discount on every movie, every day of the year, for our twilight shows," said Dane Kok, American Multi-Cinema's southeast division advertising and promotion manager.

AMC's half-price discount on evening admission prices is effective between 4 and 6 p.m. daily at all its theaters.

AMC has the largest presence in Tampa Bay with 66 first-run screens in 10 theaters. Cineplex Odeon runs only six first-run theaters with 12 screens locally. Cobb recently purchased General Cinema's six first-run theaters with a total of 30 screens.

Cobb's Largo Mall 8 long ago initiated a policy of daily reduced rates _ $2.75 _ for all movies between 4 and 6 p.m.

Cobb's Hillsborough County cinemas do not have twilight admission programs, according to district manager Bill Koontz. None is planned.

United Artists, which runs 28 screens in three area theaters, does not have a twilight discount program.

Area theater chains also offer matinee and senior citizen discounts.