Indonesian officials say that Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 will be released in Indonesia this weekend, ending a five-month dispute between MPAA members, the Indonesian government and local distributors.
However, there is some confusion over whether the film will actually be released. It’s understood that there is still no license between Warner Bros and the film’s local distributor, Omega Film, and local exhibitors say they have yet to sign screening contracts with Omega.
The dispute started in February when Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced a huge increase in taxes on imported movies, which appeared to be an attempt to protect the local film industry.
The MPAA members – Paramount, Sony, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros and Universal – withdrew their films from Indonesia in protest at the tax.
Around the same time, it emerged that the tax hike was not aimed at the US studios. The government was actually trying to recover millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and royalties from the local sub-distributors of Hollywood films.
Last weekend, the Indonesian Union of Cinema Owners (GPBSI) announced that the Indonesian government had reached an agreement with the MPAA. The agreement included setting up a new distributor, Omega Film, which as a start-up company would not be liable for any unpaid tax.
The GPBSI said Omega Film would also release Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon by the end of this month.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism also confirmed that the latest Harry Potter would be released.
However, tax authorities are investigating links between Omega and the existing distributors, under the 21 Group umbrella, which owe the unpaid taxes.
Indonesian cinema-goers have been buying pirated DVDs or flying to neighbouring Singapore to see recent releases of US studio films.