No film screening in Mysuru despite Centre easing restrictions

Single-screen cinemas are reluctant to reopen over unresolved revenue sharing with producers/distributors

It’s official. There won’t be any screening of films at the single-screen cinemas in Mysuru city as they have continued to remain shut despite the Centre allowing 100 per cent capacity, easing all curbs that were prevalent since over 10 months post-COVID-19.

The reason: the impasse between exhibitors and producers/distributors over the sharing of revenue.

While the exhibitors are seeking weekly revenue sharing on percentage terms, the producers are insisting on fixed charges like it has been there for many years. They are not keen to make any change to the model though the exhibitors are citing loss and negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their earnings for seeking modification.

The stand-off may delay screening of films in single-screen cinemas across the State barring Bengaluru where majority of exhibitors are not the members of the Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Federation, which is seeking revenue based on percentage.

Barring one cinema in Mysuru, all others continue to remain shut here and they are in no mood to reopen until the revenue sharing was resolved similar to the model prevailing in other Southern States where the cinemas are thriving unlike the State, the federation said.

Confirming this to The Hindu, M. .R Rajaram, Vice-President, KFEF, said, “The talks with the producers and exhibitors remain inconclusive as they have not agreed to the model suggested by us though it is mutually beneficial. They want us to stick to the fixed charges but we want the percentage system. This stalemate has caused non-screening of movies in spite of the curbs being eased for the shows permitting 100 per cent capacity.”

The exhibitors are firm this time and don’t want to back-off from their demand as they claimed that the revenue sharing model that existed all these years had caused the downfall of the cinemas whose numbers are fast dwindling over unviable business terms. “If the same model continues, more cinemas may shut down business, like what has been happening since past five years where 11 had been shut down in Mysuru city alone,” said Mr. Rajaram, who is also the Secretary of Mysuru Film Exhibitors’ Association.

Arguing that the exhibitors were not making any unreasonable demand, he said the revenue was shared on a percentage system based on weekly earnings in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

“Why cannot we have the same system in Karnataka too? I don’t think it is impossible to have an amicable solution that works out beneficial to both. The producers/distributors have to realise the hurdles faced by the cinemas, especially after COVID-19. Moreover, they are aware that about 80 per cent of the revenue comes from cinemas and not from multiplexes where the revenue was shared on percentage. The dual policy adopted in sharing of revenue was unacceptable and it is also proving to be disastrous to the survival of cinemas,” Mr. Rajaram said.

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