Filmmaker Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi, featuring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif along with Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh in key roles, is a just a day away from release. Yet, the advance bookings haven’t opened up in three national multiplex chains – PVR, Inox and Cinepolis.
The delay is due to a tiff between the producers and exhibitors on revenue sharing. Sooryavanshi is presented by Reliance Entertainment and produced by Rohit Shetty Picturez in association with Dharma Productions and Cape of Good Films. Reliance Entertainment is also the co-distributor of Sooryavanshi.
Talking to moneycontrol.com, Exhibitor Vishek Chauhan, who runs single-screen Roopbani Cinema in Bihar’s Purnea district explains that the producers of the film are asking for higher distributor share. “They (multiplexes) have opened advances for (Hollywood venture releasing on November 5) Eternals but not for Sooryavanshi. National chains contribute 60-70 percent of revenue for any Hindi film. We are told that by today the advances could open,” said Chauhan.
A source close to the film explains that being the first major release post-pandemic, Sooryavanshi is only asking for terms (revenue share with the three national multiplex players) similar to what Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe received. “Annatthe has a revenue sharing model of 57.5% for the first week. The same national multiplex chains have offered extremely discriminatory revenue-sharing terms at regular terms which is 52% to Sooryavanshi. This is sheer discrimination by national multiplexes against a major Hindi film for national audiences. Even multiplex owners are aware that Rohit Shetty had a major contribution to the reopening of theatres in Maharashtra. While Rohit Shetty had huge offers from OTT, he stood by theatres and held the release of Sooryavanshi for almost two years. “
Talking to News18.com, trade analyst Komal Nahta says that multiplex association should agree to the producers’ terms. “Without taking a biased approach, I feel that Rohit Shetty has waited for more than 18 months to release his film. He deserves a better revenue sharing model and the multiplex association should agree as the producers are aren’t demanding too much. He was instrumental in opening of cinemas in Maharashtra and he also did not give in to the temptation of releasing the film on OTT. I feel the multiplexes are unnecessarily delaying the settlement,” Nahta said.
Elaborating on the issue, Analyst Karan Taurani, Senior Vice-President, Elara Capital, explained to moneycontrol.com that producers of Sooryavanshi are asking for a distributor share of 60 percent in the first week. Pre-COVID their share was around 50-52 percent in first week. He also pointed out that Hollywood studios and producers of Bell Bottom were given a higher distributor share of closer to 60 percent in the first week. And producers of Sooryavanshi are expecting the same revenue share to continue.
With theatres shut for many months, many studios and producers held film releases for long periods which led to heavy losses. Owing to this, producers asked for higher revenue share which is currently at 60 percent revenue in the first week, 55 percent in the second week and 50 percent in the third and fourth week.
Pre-COVID, the revenue sharing was around 50 percent in the first week, 42 percent in the second week and 37 percent in the third week. And if a film is expected to deliver strong performance at the box office then in the first week the distributor share is 55 percent.
For Sooryavanshi, the exhibitors are seeking to give a distributor share of around 55 percent in the first week.
Chauhan said that PVR, INOX, Cinepolis are not agreeing to 60 percent distributor share because they have content to play on their big screens with Eternals also releasing on the same day as Sooryavanshi. “Plus, exhibitors are arguing that if they agree now for higher distributor share then every Hindi film producer will ask for it and then the same issue will arise on November 26 when Satyameva Jayate 2 releases.”
While top multiplexes are still debating on keeping the distributor share at 55 percent, multiplexes including Carnival Cinemas and Mukta A2 Cinemas have opened advances for Sooryavanshi. In addition, many single and two-screen cinemas have started the advance booking for the Bollywood venture.
Chauhan also told moneycontrol.com that if the disagreement between producers and theatre owners is not resolved soon then Sooryavanshi’s business will see a big impact. “It is not looking good for Sooryavanshi which is touted as a venture that is likely to revive the film business. Also, theatres for the south market have Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe. And then there is also Eternals,” he said.
(With inputs from Sonil Dedhia)
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