Multiplexes to lift Simpsons ban on 7 August


MUMBAI: 20th Century Fox’s The Simpsons Movie, which released on 3 August in India, had to give its screening a miss across most multiplexes in India. Due to an unreasonable demand of increase in the number of shows for the movie, from Warner Brothers – the distributors of the movie in India – most multiplex operators decided to ban the screening of the movie.


A source from a multiplex adds, “Apart from the demand of increased number of shows, the Warner officials held the multiplexes at ransom till the last minute and moreover they did not even treat us well.”


While the issue is still under discussion and yet to be resolved completely, it is learnt that due to an intervention from 20th Century Fox (Australia), Warner Brothers (India) has had to reach a middle ground with some multiplexes like Inox and Cinemax and the movie will begin its screening from Tuesday (7 August) onwards. These multiplexes will accommodate an average of three- four shows across their properties, as per their earlier provisions.


For the first time in the history of multiplexes in India has a movie been boycotted on such a large scale. The multiplex chains that banned the movie screening include Fame, Inox, Adlabs, Fun, Cinemax, Movietime and Citypride all across India. In Mumbai, the movie is being screened at PVR (Juhu and Mulund), Sterling and G7. PVR, Satyam and Wave cinemas played the movie in Delhi.


PVR Cinemas Cine Media CEO Gautam Dutta says, “The response for the movie has been nice but nothing spectacular.” PVR has an annual contract with Warner Brothers, the terms of which are worked upon at the beginning of the year.


The Simpsons Movie was expected to release in India with a total of 40 prints in English language. As per estimates from the industry the movie could have grossed up to Rs 3 million (Rs 30 lakhs) in India over the weekend, which it will now lose out on.


Despite repeated attempts, Warner Brothers India officials were not available for comment.


In the wake of releases like Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Fantastic Four and Die Hard 4.0, Warner demanded from the multiplexes as many as five – six shows for The Simpsons Movie. But unfortunately with releases like Cash, Gandhi My Father, Naya Daur and Partner still holding strong, it was difficult to accommodate so many shows of The Simpsons Movie. Their refusal to comply with these demands resulted in the movie loosing out on screening space. 

With Sony Pictures’ animated film Surfs’ Up too having released along with The Simpsons Movie, it was touted as the war of the animated capers. “With the ban on Simpsons the audience has been redirected towards Surfs’ Up,” says a source from another multiplex.

Further this non-compliance has also resulted in the multiplexes pulling out Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, which was still running strong due to stupendous audience response even after three weeks of its release.