Multiplex owners on Monday appealed to movie producers to adhere to the industry practice of having exclusive time for theatrical shows before selling the rights to a digital or satellite player for exhibition of films.
As per the industry practice, initial eight weeks of a movie release are kept as exclusive theatrical window before its rights are sold to satellite channels or over the top platforms like Netflix or Amazon.
The appeal by Multiplex Association of India (MAI) comes amidst concerns of movie makers selling out the rights to digital or satellite players, possibly because of immediate liquidity needs, as multiplexes continue to remain shut due to the lockdown.
"We urge all studios, producers, artistes and other content creators to kindly respect the exclusive theatrical window, which has been a time tested industry practice," MAI said in a statement.
It said the practice of exclusive theatrical release is followed by all stakeholders not just in India but across the world as well.
The body made an appeal for support to the cinema exhibition sector claiming that it is an important part of the value chain and urged movie producers to hold the release of films. It can be noted that multiplexes and theatres, where people gather in large numbers, were the first ones to be shut before the imposition of the national lockdown and going by by many reports, they will be one of the last ones to open up. "It is crucial that the entire industry unites in rallying against the existential threat to our collective well-being, and that we tackle the crisis unitedly for the sake of our audiences as well as our supply chains and other stakeholders," MAI said According to the association, due to the COVID-19 pandemic , thousands of screens countrywide were forced to shut, and many employees, not just of cinemas, but also of their supply chains and other stakeholders, are now facing hardship.
MAI represents over 18 regional and national multiplex chains and represents around 90 per cent of the multiplex industry in India. Its members operate more than 600 multiplexes with more than 2,900 screens across the country.