‘If multiplexes kill us, they will definitely die’: Mukesh Bhatt

Mukesh Bhatt

Mukesh Bhatt
Mukesh Bhatt
Mukesh Bhatt
Mukesh Bhatt

What started with Yash Raj Films’ Fanaa in 2006 has now snowballed into a full blown controversy and war of words! While the multiplexes have been united thus far, the Hindi film producers came together a couple of months back and started holding discussions on the issue.

The disagreement over revenue sharing terms for movies between national multiplex chains and movie distributors and producers has now reached its peak wherein the two parties are not willing to come to a middle ground over their respective demands. Come 4 April and producers will desist from releasing their movies in plexes. 

While the producers body met on 16 March and laid open their woes and demands, on 17 March it was the exhibitors who did the same. Each side has their own story and one which they are definitely sticking to… at least as of now!

In this EXCLUSIVE chat, producer MUKESH BHATT spoke to Businessofcinema.com post the multiplex media briefing and shared his views on the points put forth by the exhibitors.

Excerpts:

In the conference today, multiplexes have proposed a performance linked revenue share model for films. What are your thoughts on it?
Nowhere in the world are these dictates happening. Which business runs on the basis of performance? We do not want the bonus from a successful film; we just want our equal share.

You may not want any bonus on a successful film. But doesn’t a flop film take away an undeserving share?
If a movie does not do well, they pull it off anyway. They are unscrupulous. On Monday itself, in the middle of a week, they start reducing the number of shows for a film that doesn’t do well. If they cannot bear with our poor films, then why should we feed their poor properties?

Could you please elaborate on this?
When a distributor is releasing a film and chooses to have a limited release in few cinemas, say for instance, a distributor wants to release a movie in 20 cinemas only, he is forced by the multiplexes to release it in 40 cinemas because each one of them want content to feed their cinemas. So I end up bearing additional expenditure on print cost and if I refuse to abide, they say they will not play our movie in any cinema across the country.

In Bombay city itself there are some prime properties and some bad ones, now do they deserve the same terms? The problem is that multiplexes prejudge a movie’s fate and decide the percentage.

So are you saying the performance linked revenue share model doesn’t suit you? Why can’t both parties sit across the table and decide upon appropriate benchmarks?
Dev D fared very well; it still didn’t get more share than agreed terms. I will give you an example of my movies Jannat and Raaz 2. Jannat was a successful film produced by Vishesh Films in 2008 and starred Emraan Hashmi, which was released with 48 percent revenue share. But when Vishesh Films was releasing Raaz 2 starring Emraan again, we got 45 percent revenue share. All this despite the fact that sequels are known to give 300 percent more revenues than their previous films, be it Gomaal Returns, Phir Hera Pheri, Dhoom 2 etc.

However, the attitude of multiplex officials was – ‘Take it or leave it.’ They do not even have the decency to sit across the table. They are a bunch of scoundrels and it is shameful what they are doing and we know we are fair in our demand.

Touching upon what producers said about multiplexes delaying your revenue share payment for 60 – 90 days… similarly so many distributors too are liable to pay multiplexes since so many months. What’s your comment on the same?
Yes, but do you know that the distributors collectively do not owe multiplexes more than three percent of what the multiplexes owe the distributors? And do you know what they do with out money? They are using our money interest free to build their multiplexes and for their expansion!

We are taking so much risk. They are making money on popcorn, car park and ads because audience is coming in their cinemas to watch our movies. Are we asking for a share in their sales? But if our movie only doesn’t play, then they too will not be able to make revenue because people will not come to cinemas to see walls.

Cinemas too take risk, they too invest in properties just the way producers and distributors invest in movies.
But you know, one bad film will not shut down their property. We are talking about loss in profits of a multiplex as opposed to loss in capital of a producer/ distributor. Is Rs 30 crores capital of a movie more valuable than Rs 2 lakh a cinema loses?

If they kill us, they will definitely die. They can then make their multiplexes into warehouses.

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