Programming has virtually dried up at Indian multiplexes due to the on-going stand-off betweenexhibitors and the United Producers Forum which started on April 4.
With producers holding back fresh releases, and pulling previously released films from circulation, only two stuck-in-the-can B-grade Hindi films opened last weekend, along with Italian film Out Of Bounds, distributed by NDTV Lumiere, and Thai action title Ong Bak 2, distributed by Star Entertainment.
Producers and distributors are demanding a 50:50 revenue-sharing deal with the multiplexes, regardless of cast or production budget, as opposed to the current variable week-on-week percentages. For their part, multiplex owners say that the software being supplied is below par as evidenced by recent occupancy rates.
Only producers and distributors who are not members of the United Producers Forum are going ahead with releases.
The only films scheduled for release on April 17 are Paramount Pictures International’s Monster Vs Aliens, another B-grade Hindi film Meri Padosan and a dubbed South Indian film Dashavataram. Monsters Vs Aliens is likely to be restricted by the lack of 3D screens in India.
Warner Bros, which announced the release of Nights In Rodanthe in Mumbai and Gran Torino in Delhi earlier this week, has now rescheduled these films.
The lack of software has forced some multiplexes to consider keeping certain screens within their premises closed in order to save operating costs. Other cost-cutting methods are being adopted such as reducing the working hours of employees. The strike is scheduled for the entire month of April.