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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Hollywood blackout in India?

Robin Bansal and Shruti Dargan , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 08, 2011
First Published: 19:39 IST(8/8/2011) | Last Updated: 12:08 IST(9/8/2011)

Delhi youngsters who hopped theatres in the hopes of catching James Franco-Freida Pinto starrer Rise of the Planet of the Apes, were left disappointed. The film, which is number one on international charts and opened to an estimated $54 million in North America, didn’t make it to India’s multiplexes. The reason: multiplex owners and distributors are at loggerheads over the sharing of revenue, a problem that began back in 2009.

According to an MoU signed that year, the revenue sharing between distributors and multiplexes was 50:50 in the first week, which would then be reduced to 42.5%, 37.5% and 30% in the second, third and fourth weeks respectively.

ALSO READ: Rise of the Planet of Apes gets grand opening

But, the memorandum expired on June 30, and since then, the multiplexes are now demanding a 55% share in the profits in the first week of a film’s release, reducing the distributors’ share to 45% in the first week, 37.5% in the second, 32.5% in the third and 25.5% in the fourth weeks respectively, which is unacceptable to producers.

“Multiplexes are not ready to pay 50% on foreign films’ revenue in the first week to producers. So, temporarily, all Hollywood studios are releasing their movies only in single screens,” says Joginder Mahajan, a leading Delhi-based distributor. “The negotiations are on ... we’re waiting for a decision,” he adds.

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If things don’t get resolved, movie buffs might also miss out on Captain America: The First Avenger, Final Destination 5 and Winnie The Pooh, all of which are scheduled to open in India on Friday.

“We’re working with each of our multiplex partners to find the best possible way to resolve the revenue sharing issue for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (which earlier ran into similar trouble) as well as our forthcoming release Final Destination 5,” says Denzil Dias of Warner Bros.

Vikram Malhotra of Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, which is releasing Captain America here, says: “We hope to arrive at a solution in a couple of days.”

Meanwhile, the only explanation you’ll get at ticket counters is, “there is a technical glitch in the prints”!

Other films that may face trouble

* Captain America: The First  Avenger (scheduled release: Aug 12)
* Final Destination 5 (scheduled release: Aug 12)
* Winnie The Pooh (scheduled release: Aug 12)
* Bad Teacher (scheduled release: Aug 19)
* Mr Popper’s Penguins (scheduled for an August-end release)

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