All forthcoming releases will come to a stall April 4 onwards courtesy the ongoing tussle between the producers and the distributors on one side and the exhibitors (multiplexes) on the other over revenue sharing for upcoming films.
"The multiplexes are not willing to accept rationalised terms for all films in India like in the rest of the world. In the light of this, the producers-distributors have decided not to market or release any new film set to release April onwards," Aman Gill, director, domestic theatrical distribution of Studio 18, told IANS on telephone from Mumbai.
"The multiplexes have formed an illegal cartel to gang up against the individual producer or distributor and are using it to dictate terms, payments and even number of shows allotted to distributors," he explained.
Producer Vashu Bhagnani who has willingly postponed the April release of his home project "Kal Kissne Dekha" added: "Multiplex owners demand imbalanced and unfair share in the profit of a movie despite the increase in the production cost and the global recession effect on the entertainment industry."
"This is incorrect, first we will settle down the profit sharing, then only we will release any film in the multiplexes," he said.
The negotiations started about four weeks ago to rationalise the terms between both parties. While, the discussions failed, the Film and Television Producers Guild of India decided two weeks ago not to push any new releases in multiplexes across the country April 3 onwards.
The strike is now to commence April 4 onwards, however, allowing the release of Nagesh Kukunoor's Akshay Kumar starrer "8X10 Tasveer" April 3.
On being asked about the current development, Mukesh Bhatt, film producer and chairperson of the producers core, said: "At the moment we haven't come to any concrete conclusion. We are trying to reach a decision but something is for sure that we have put a ban on all multiplexes in the country."
While, multiplex chains like PVR and BIG cinemas refused to comment on the issue, a trade analyst from Mumbai said on condition of anonymity: "It's an internal issue between the two parties and it'll definitely be sorted out. None of the turfs can afford losses, considering the current scenario courtesy the meltdown."
Surprisingly, even if the matter is resolved, it will take at least six weeks after this for any film to release, as that is the minimum time required to market a film.
Even Hollywood studios like Warner Bros., FOX, Sony Entertainment Pictures and Disney to name a few have joined hands with the distributors.