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FIRST OFF . . .

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theater. . . . The recently renovated Carnegie Hall Cinema in New York has raised the price of its movie tickets to $7 from $6. Moviegoers have groused a bit but have forked over the highest price in town to see the city’s exclusive showing of the new British comedy “Withnail and I.” A spokeswoman for Cineplex Odeon, which operates the theater, said that there were no plans to raise prices at other theaters. The manager of another Manhattan movie house that offers foreign films, Paul Hahn of the Quad Cinema, said he thinks the Carnegie could trigger a $7 trend. “I think yes--by the middle of next year,” Hahn said. “Every price increase comes with a few people who express anger a little bit. But they come around eventually.”


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