MUMBAI: The unending standoff between producers, distributors and exhibitors over revenue share terms of movies has entered a different stage now.
The close door discussions and negotiations, which started on 7 February, went on for many weeks. However, talks came to a halt in first week of March when the concerned parties did not reach a middle ground and failed to draw any conclusion.
However the cat is now out of the bag! Producers and distributors called a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce the strike of movie releases from 4 April onwards. What the producers want is equality in revenue sharing terms (50 per cent) for every film regardless of star cast or budget for every week that a film plays in the multiplexes.
“We are asking for justice, not profits,” said Mukesh Bhatt.
While until now, individual producers used to negotiate with multiplexes on revenue sharing terms on the eve of their film’s release; this is the first time that all Hindi film producers have come together to jointly take a stand.
Also present at the conference were Yash Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, Tips’ Kumar Taurani, distributor Ramesh Sippy, Sunil Lulla and Nandu Ahuja from Eros, Sandeep Bhargava, Priti Shahani and Aman Gill from Studio 18, Siddharth Roy Kapoor and Suniel Wadhwa from UTV Motion Pictures, Kamal Gianchandani from Reliance Big Pictures, Kercy Daruwala from Sony Pictures and Neeraj Goswami from Warner Brothers.
Producers and distributors jointly pointed out that they are the only stakeholders of the content as they invest all the money and take all the risk required to produce and distribute movies. However, multiplexes get content free of cost without any risk attached for the exhibition of the film.
“In 2002, the revenue share between distributors and exhibitors was 50 percent for all India, but in the years ahead our share came down to 48 percent and then later different states had different revenue share terms. Now multiplexes want to classify it further on the basis of budget, star cast and size of the film,” said Ramesh Sippy.
The producers also said that if they do not differentiate between the multiplexes properties based on location or performance, then how can the multiplex lobby be allowed to differentiate between films based on budget and star cast?
The other discrepancies brought up during the conference include, 33 percent entertainment tax charged by some multiplexes in Punjab despite abolishment from the state government; service charge of two – eight percent charged by multiplexes despite exemption and one percent INR (Indian News Reel) charged by multiplexes despite government abolishment or reduction at 0.3 percent.
When contacted by Businessofcinema.com, officials from national multiplex chains refused to comment. Instead to present their side of the story these companies are planning to hold a press conference on 17 March.
In the mean time, the next meeting between producers, distributors and exhibitors is agreed upon for 18 March.