‘Show’ Business: Multiplex To Charge For Screening Trailers

The multiplex lobby seems to get stronger by the day. First the multiplex owners demanded a higher cut in revenue sharing. Then it was charges levied on drop downs and standees and now they are set to charge a bomb for screening trailers.

MUMBAI: Not long ago, movie buffs rejoiced when multiplexes took over single screens and this meant an enjoyable and comfortable movie experience. Sadly over the years, the multiplex lobby has grown stronger and their dominance has reached intolerable heights.

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Just last month, when ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ released, multiplex owners demanded a higher cut in the revenue model. Then, it was levying charges for promotional material like drop downs and standees, which have put producers in a fix. And the latest in their agenda to earn a quick buck is to charge for airing trailers of forthcoming releases.

The charges will be as exorbitant as Rs 15 Lakh a week. According to a leading tabloid, the trailers are usually shown in multiplex halls for two weeks, which means producers will have to shell as much as Rs 30 Lakhs.

Till now, producers attached trailers and promos of the films they are producing and recently we have seen industry friends collaborating and inserting trailers as a goodwill gesture. This unreasonable demand (as stated by industry sources and distributors) will just cough up the cost of the film more and the ultimate sufferer will be the movie audience in a way. Already viewers are paying a high price for the movies.

There also is no fixed rate and the multiplex owners are having their own rate cards. Also while many multiplex owners have welcomed the decision whole-heartedly, some have dismissed it right away.

A multiplex owner (on request of anonymity) says, “We do charge for the trailers, only when it exceeds the airtime of four minutes. If it exceeds that time, we charge or else it’s taken off.”

CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures, Tanuj Garg, having ‘Lootera’ and ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobara’ lined up for release in a week’s time says the decision is ridiculous as multiplexes are supposed to publicise films and it is their responsibility to display the promotional material at their premises. “Promoting a film to attract audiences benefits exhibitors as much as it does the producer,” he adds

TP Agarwal, producer of upcoming flick ‘Policegiri’ starring Sanjay Dutt says, “Multiplex owners have laid a trap and are smart cookies to fleece producers. And as film producers we have no choice but to grin and bear it.”

CMD, Pen Pvt. Ltd, Jayantilal Gada also agrees to the adamant behaviour of the multiplex and dismisses this move by multiplex chains. “I think we will take a long time to recover from this shock. I do not welcome this move.”

Pen Pvt. Ltd is producing the Prateik Babbar starrer ‘Issaq’ and has been asked to pay for the trailers. “We have been asked to pay for ‘Issaq’ trailers. Our distributors (Reliance) will take the final call,” says an agitated Jayantilal Gada.

Whatever is the outcome of this ugly war, audiences surely will have to gear for tougher (read expensive) movie experiences.

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