Tamil cinema strike: The story till now

Vishal meets cinema owners to end crisis


Vishal   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

A new revenue-sharing model needed, says the actor

In the face of the soured relationship between Tamil film producers and cinema owners since the former declared a strike on March 1, Tamil Film Producers Council president Vishal has been reaching out to the owners individually in an effort to address the issues raised by the producers – need for transparency in collections and end to prohibitive internet booking charges.

Vishal has been meeting them and exploring the possibility of signing individual contracts with producers on the sharing of revenue and profits. “A lot of single-screen cinema owners have met me and had discussion. All this while many producers did not know the owners and this is one way to get to know them better. Dealing directly with theatre owners will bring in lot of transparency,” he added. The actor clarified that his intention was not to bypass distributors but come up with newer business models. “Distributors will continue to stay with us,” he said.

Tamil Nadu has close to 1,127 screens. Vishal did not want to disclose how many owners met him, but industry sources aware of the developments saidseveral hundred of them met him in the last two days.

Tirupur Subramanian,distributor and exhibitor, said new proposals will have to spell out profit/revenue sharing models. “If terms and conditions are agreeable, we don’t have any problems. We are not going to stop any theatre owners from signing contracts,” he said.

‘Unacceptable demand’

He said the producers’ demand that theatres pick up the ‘VPF’ (virtual print fee) cost is unacceptable. “Let the producers show that theatre owners are paying a part of the VPF anywhere in the world. You cannot come up with a system only for Tamil Nadu,” he stated.

If this effort succeeds, the practice of paying ‘Minimum Guarantee’ to a producer for theatrical rights, will be slowly phased out.

Well-known cinema owners say such a system existed when producers such as AVM Studios were active. “With the rapid increase in number of theatres, producers couldn’t directly deal with so many of them. So the distributors came in,” said an owner from Madurai.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:39:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vishal-meets-cinema-owners-to-end-crisis/article23438204.ece

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