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Friday, June 12, 2009
Back to Bollywood.... with a BANG!!!!!!!!!
After a long while, Bollywood is again back at the multiplexes, nationwide.
The multiplexes and the Mumbai film producers have reached a truce and the Hindi films are back in theatres, after a two month drought.
Several big budget Bollywood films are being readied for release. Today happens to be the release date for 'Kal Kissne Dekha'. Next on the line-up are 'New York', 'Kambakht Ishq', 'Love Aaj Kal', 'Paying Guests', 'Kaminay', and many more.
Looking back at the tiff between the producers and multiplexes, that started in February this year, one must not forget the genuine attempts made by two of our biggest superstars, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, who came together on the same platform for the first time to raise the issue of a speedy settlement, both advocating a partnership of equality. Apart from Aamir, industry veterans like Ronnie Screwvala, Mukesh Bhatt and Karan Johar were present, among others.
Aamir Khan had categorically pointed out that it should be a partnership of equality, urging the distributors and the exhibitors to find a way to make it a viable business within their equitable share. He has reasoned, rather logically, that all parties can survive in the film industry only when each sector gets to earn a healthy share.
Shah Rukh Khan - on the other hand - had stressed that their coming together was not a power-show to threaten the multiplexes, but rather it was a solidarity for the cause of equal sharing of revenue.
After several failed discussions prior to that very Press Conference, the producers had decided to stop releasing films for a while. From April 4 they stopped giving release rights of the latest big-budget movies.
Even after the joint-efforts of the superstars and the big production and distribution houses, the deadlock continued, the ice took a long time to thaw!
Finally, we were given some good news on Friday, Jun 5 when the the strike was called off after the producers and the multiplex owners came to a settlement over revenue sharing. The meeting between the two parties was held at the Yash Raj Studios and the deal was first inked by Big cinemas represented by its chairman Amit Khanna. Some prominent multiplex chains were initially against signing of the pact, but followed suit later. Mukesh Bhatt, the convenor of the United Producers and Distributors Forum (UPDF), announced the happy end to the tiff. Producers and distributors under the banner of the UPDF, had demanded a revenue share of 50:50 ratio from the multiplex owners. But the latter refused, demanding a 45:55 ratio instead, and had agreed to give 50:50 only if a film was declared a hit at the box office.
It has now been negotiated that the entertainment tax, yet another bone of contention, will not be charged where it is not applicable.
During the two month deadlock producers, distributors and multiplexes have lost over 200 crore rupees.
Here is the distribution strategy, on equitable terms, as reported to have been agreed upon:
*The discretion lies with the producers & the distributors;
they get the right to choose & release the film as per content of the film.
* All accounting/peripheral complaints to be looked into & resolved.
*Finally, it is the realization of the concept of FAIR RIGHTS FOR FRIDAY NIGHTS:
All films will be treated equally (including all Hollywood films) and get terms of 50% in week one, 42.5% in week 2, 37.5% in week 3, and 30% from the 4th week onwards till the life of the film.
*In addition to this, there will be a bonus to all those films which do exceptionally well at the Box Office.
*In case a movie collects more than Rs 17.50 crores at the top six multiplex chains
(The top national multiplex chains in India are PVR, Big, Inox, Fame, Cinemax and Fun), excluding the collections from the single screens and independent multiplex chains, the terms will be as follows: 52.5% for the first week, 45% for the second week, 37.5% for the third week, and 30% from the third week onwards till the life of the film. [9 films from the 2008 releases would have been eligible to belong to this category, including 'Ghajini', 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' and 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na'.]
So, it's back to Bollywood with a bang! I wish the deserving films all the success, whether they are big or small. After all, as Shah Rukh & Aamir had both stressed that it was the small and medium-budget film that they hoped would, and should, benefit the most from the equitable terms, doing away with the whims of the plex owners who are hardly the people to be judgmental about such films' merit. Let the viewer be the one to choose which film he/she wants to watch!