Tamil producers write to theatre owners, raise 6 demands including share in ad revenue

The producers have also stated that the existing theatre share percentage will have to be restructured.
Devi Cineplex Chennai
Devi Cineplex Chennai
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In the absence of a functional Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC), the Tamil Film Active Producers’ Association, headed by veteran director P Bharathiraja, has written a letter to the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners' Association placing six demands on the table. About 51 producers, representing giants like Lyca Productions, Vels International, V Creations, Studio Green, Y Not Studios and more, have made the request on behalf of all producers in the Tamil film industry in the letter dated September 7.

The producers have said that henceforth they will not pay the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) to the theatre owners. This is one among the longstanding issues in the industry, that culminated in one of the biggest strikes that the industry had seen in 2019.

“For the past 10 years, the producers have been paying the VPF for the Qube/UFO in theatres. This has now exceeded the investment costs. Going forward, we will not be paying this fee,” reads their first demand.

The producers have also stated that the existing theatre share percentage will have to be restructured based on the film’s budget and area in which it is being screened. Currently, the theatre shares are calculated by 50% of revenue during the first week, 40% during the second week and 30% from third week onwards.

The producers have also put forward a demand to receive a share in the advertisement revenue generated in theatres from playing commercials. “We spend one to two crores in  promoting the film and bring in audiences to the theatre. That being the case, the ad revenue cannot be split only among the digital companies and the theatres alone,” they said. They’ve also demanded a portion of the revenue generated from online sale of tickets through platforms like BookMyShow and TicketNew.

Another item on their list is the enforcement of “hold over” in theatres. “Most theatres do not give a good film a chance to pick up. Films with “hold over” should not be changed abruptly in theatres. We can discuss the “hold over” percentage,” they’ve said.

Lastly, they've added that when it comes to exhibitors who claim to have leased out theatres with just oral confirmation, the producers lose out on the second run money and deposit. “Henceforth we will not be screening our films in such theatres that are run by  such persons,” they add. This pertains to agents who only have confirmation of having leased out a theatre and no proper paperwork attesting to the same.

Bharathiraja had in the past endorsed actor Suriya’s decision to choose OTT (Over-the-Top) release for his upcoming film Soorarai Pottru. He had penned a letter of support in his personal capacity and asked theatre owners to be more understanding of the strain on producers during this pandemic.

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