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No movie releases after April 3?
Syed Firdaus Ashraf | March 17, 2009 19:21 IST
On March 16, film producers announced an indefinite strike from April 3 if multiplex owners did not agree to their terms of 50:50 equality in revenue sharing for every film.
In turn, the multiplex owners have replied that they will not agree to the revenue arrangement proposed by the producers. Instead, they have come out with a new proposal that the revenue will be shared depending on the film's box office performance.
In a hurriedly called press conference on Tuesday, owners of major multiplexes like BIG Cinema, Fame, Cinemax, INOX [Get Quote], Fun Cinemas and Movietime came together on one platform and said that the producers were being unjust in their demands. They also claimed that other multiplex owners like PVR were not present at the press meet because they were based in New Delhi [Images] and could not come to Mumbai [Images] at such short notice.
"We are ready to pay more to the producers but their films must do well at the box office," said Shravan Shroff, Managing Director, Fame India Limited. "If your film becomes a hit, take more. If not, take less. I think we are making a very reasonable demand. Ours is a computerised system. Every ticket sold is accounted for, and every producer knows how his film is doing at the box office, even in the middle of the night. So we feel it is a very fair system."
The producers have said no to the 'bullying tactics of multiplexes,' as they had the power to exhibit or withdraw films.
"Take the example of Salman Khan's [Images] Heroes. There were only five people sitting in the theatre and the distributor expected us to run the film because Salman would feel bad. This is not done. If some other release was doing better than Heroes, then it is my duty to see that the theatre is going full," Shroff said.
Tushar Dhingra, Chief Operating Officer of BIG Cinemas, said, "Producers claim that we take money for parking facilities too. This statement is not true because multiplex owners don't own parking areas in 90 percent of places."
At present, there are 240 multiplexes with 849 screens in India, with a capacity of 2, 27,084 seats per show. They are essential to the profits of the film because the tickets cost more vis a vis single screen theatres, resulting in a big profit margin for the producers and distributors.
"Earlier, the rent to the theatre owners were fixed irrespective of the collections, whether the movie was a hit or flop. So the risk lay completely with the producer. Now, there is clear revenue sharing, where theater owners also bear a part of the risk," said Shroff. "So if a film like Chandni Chowk to China [Images] flops, we bear the burnt too."