Multiplex owners toughen stand on revenue sharing

March 24th, 2009 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Akshay Kumar Mumbai, March 24 (IANS) The revenue sharing tussle over all forthcoming releases between film producers and distributors on one side and multiplex owners on the other seems set to continue. Multiplex owners say they are ready to strike a deal only on the basis of “performance” of a film otherwise they would prefer to shut shop.
The exhibitors are now ready to share more than 50 percent of the ticket revenue depending upon the performance of a film, said a statement Tuesday from ETC channel that organised a discussion forum for both parties on its show “Bollywood Business”.

“Uniformity in revenue sharing will almost kill talent. Why would filmmakers invest in making better films if they know that a poorly made film will get the same percentage? For films which are good and do well we are willing to give more than 50 percent, but for a non-performing movie, why should we give it the same terms?,” said Amitabh Vardhan of PVR Cinemas.

Added Shravan Shroff from Fame Adlabs: “A flat 50 percent revenue sharing across four weeks and for all films is simply not feasible for us. We don’t operate on such margins that we can give them such a deal… We would rather shut down than agree to this deal.”

The negotiations over 50-50 revenue rationalisation between the two parties started around February. As a result, the Film and Television Producers Guild of India decided early March not to push any new releases in multiplexes across the country April 3 onwards.

The strike was then postponed to April 4 onwards, however, allowing the release of Nagesh Kukunoor’s Akshay Kumar starrer “8X10 Tasveer” April 3.

Tushar Dhingra from BIG pictures though has a different offer to make.

“Unfortunately we are fighting over a shrinking revenue pie. We had proposed to set up an anti-piracy cell, which could be funded jointly by us and them… we must work towards increasing the revenue pie. Kill piracy and your revenue increases automatically. Our offer, unfortunately, was met with silence,” he said.

The exhibitors conceded that should the strike come into effect, it “will reduce footfalls drastically” and they will be forced to look at alternate contents like screening “IPL” or even “music shows”.

They also pointed out that if the strike continues for too long, it might “change movie viewing habits of the audience”.

Other multiplex representatives in the discussion were Vishal Kapur of Fun Republic, Alok Tandon from Inox and Sanjay Dalia from Cinemax.

The multiplexes have also proposed a three member committee, comprising of one representative each from the producers-distributors and exhibitors side and an industry arbitrator to mediate the impasse.

The show will be aired 9 p.m. Wednesday.

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