Heaving a sigh of relief after a 14-hour meeting that Friday resolved a crippling four-month dispute between Bollywood producers-distributors and multiplexes, United Producers and Distributors Forum (UPDF) chairman Mukesh Bhatt said that he was glad to have finally achieved "fair rights for Friday nights".
"We are so happy that that we have achieved what we had set out to achieve - fair rights for Friday nights," Bhatt told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
After two months of disputes and two more of strikes, the two parties agreed on a common consensus over the revenue sharing of forthcoming films at about 2.30 a.m. Friday.
"We have decided on a suitable ratio for both the parties. However, we have maintained that all films - whether a blockbuster or a flop one - will be on the same pedestal for revenue sharing. There will not be any differentiation in this regard at all," said Bhatt.
Though he did not reveal the details of the final revenue-sharing settlement, which will be officially released Monday, Bhatt said "both the parties happily shook hands over the decision".
The meeting was attended by leading Bollywood personalities like Yash Raj Films (YRF) head honcho Yash Chopra, Siddharth Roy Kapur of UTV, filmmakers Manmohan Shetty and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Nandu Ahuja of Eros, Ramesh Sippy, Aman Gill of Studio 18 and Reliance BIG Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna.
The strike has cost the Indian film industry over Rs.3 billion. The first films to be released after it was withdrawn will be Vashu Bhagnani's Kal Kissne Dekha and Mithun Chakraborty-starrer Zor Laga Ke Haiya on June 12.
While Bhatt is confident that there will be a sudden rush from producers to release their films, they will try and ensure that the "big fish would not eat the small fish".
Among other movies slated for release in the near future are big-ticket ventures New York, Kaminey, Paathshala, Johnny Mastana, Kissan, Kambakkht Ishq, Love Aaj Kal, Agyaat, What's Your Rashee, Wake Up Sid, Main Aur Mrs.Khanna, Aashayein, Tum Mile and Jashnn.
The dispute started in February when the producers and distributors on one side demanded a flat 50 per cent revenue share for all films for all weeks, which the multiplexes refused.
The exhibitors stressed on a performance based agreement where the revenue share would be judged from the audience reaction and business of a film. In later talks, however, they agreed to give 50, 40 and 30 percent revenue during subsequent weeks after the release day.
But the UPDF declared a strike as per which no new big-budget Hindi film was pushed in multiplexes April 4 onwards except for two big budget movies Aa Dekhen Zara and 8X10 Tasveer and one medium budget film 99.
Now, the producers, distributors and multiplexes as well as movie aficionados finally have a reason to cheer.