In a letter of complaint to the Producers Guild Of India (of which a copy is embedded below), Zee Studios writes, “It is unfortunate that major multiplexes operating in the Punjabi industry have taken an unequitable stand of changing the theatrical window to eight weeks instead of the previously agreed four weeks.”
The major multiplexes insist that Punjabi producers/distributors sign a letter/undertaking before the release of a Punjabi film agreeing to an 8-week holdback window, failing which the said major multiplexes refuse to screen the film in their multiplexes/cinemas.
Zee feels this to be a gross trade malpractice. “An industry that has been struggling to find its feet post the pandemic to stay profitable for all parties concerned has been short-changed yet again due to a unilateral decision by the newly merged, major multiplexes playing Punjabi Film content,” Zee’s letter states.
As a norm; non-Hindi language films, popularly referred to as regional films, have been granted a four-week window across the country. This includes Tamil and Telugu films as well, which have been box office drivers for the whole nation.
Punjabi films get lowest percentage shares amongst all film categories in the country. This is despite the average ticket rates being similar to those of Hindi language films. These decisions, taken in complete isolation and without complete industry participation and due diligence, have been made to benefit a few and will end up harming all parties in the long run – affecting their film’s profitability.
The Punjabi industry releases over 70 films a year; and with lower revenue shares, extended windowing, ends up on the losing side due to a monopolistic scenario created by the multiplexes.
Zee Studios had urged the Producers’ Guild and all stakeholders to come together, discuss all pros and cons threadbare and arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution.
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