Following the precedent set by Yashraj Films’ Fanaa and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Lage Raho Munnabhai, VIP Films, the Mumbai distributor for Ravi Chopra’s Baabul, is asking multiplex owners for the same terms as the first two films – that is, a profit sharing formula that gives VIP a greater share of the collection pie.
If negotiations don’t go smoothly, fans will not see Baabul, which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Salman Khan, Rani Mukherji and John Abraham, at any multiplex in the city.
“Baabul will not release in multiplexes in Mumbai for sure,” said Bharat Shah of VIP Films. While Shah feels current revenue sharing terms are unfavourable to him, multiplex owners are more optimistic about a settlement.
“They’re (VIP) negotiating terms right now. I’m sure it should get settled in a day or two – there’s always a way out,” said Sanjay Dalia, VP, operations at the Cinemax chain of theatres.
“I want the same revenue sharing terms for Baabul as was applied to earlier multi-starrer films. I will not let the multiplexes dictate terms to me,” Shah said, adding, “I don’t want to talk (negotiate).”
Despite the standoff, Chopra has organised a premiere of Baabul on Wednesday evening at Cinemax, Versova. Asked about the premiere, Dalia refused comment. Advance booking for the film was to open in multiplexes on Monday, but it hasn’t happened so far.
With less than three days left for the film’s release, and no newspaper ads indicating which multiplexes will show the film, audiences will most likely be queuing up outside single screen theatres if a compromise is not hammered out soon.