An internal memo of the Tamil Nadu Theater Owners and Multiplex Association has revealed the organisation’s plans to revise the profit-sharing terms with film producers. The recommendation was drafted following a meeting of the members of the association on April 24 this year.
According to the memo, the leading actors of the Tamil film industry will be classified into different groups based on their fan following. In other words, actors, who enjoy a huge fan following and thus command a higher market value, will fall into the tier 1 category. The actors in this segment provide a maximum guarantee to record the biggest opening day/weekend. And, other actors will accordingly fall into tier 2 and tier 3 groups depending on their ability to sell tickets.
As per the memo, Rajinikanth, Vijay and Ajith are the only three actors who qualify for tier 1 group. Surya, Dhanush, Jayam Ravi, Simbu, Sivakarthikeyan and Vijay Sethupathi are in tier 2 and the rest of the actors fall in tier 3 segment. The association has allotted a specific profit sharing percentage to each category.
For example, from the first week of ticket sales for a tier 1 actor, 60 per cent of the share will reach the producers from A centre and 65 per cent from B and C centers. In the second week, A center will share with the filmmakers 55 per cent, and other centers 60 per cent of the total share.
“Managing theatres, including taxes, staff salary etc, have become a big challenge for us. Keeping in mind the growing expenses, we have decided to implement a new practice for the distributors,” said the memo explaining the need for the change in terms of profit-sharing.
“It was a private memo meant only for the members of our association. But, it got leaked,” Tirupur Subramaniam, president of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association, told indianexpress.com.
“We issued the recommendations for the benefit of theater owners as most of the time theaters don’t profit at all,” he added.
If implemented, the terms are less than current terms and Producers will be at the receiving end.. pic.twitter.com/s9jTFtwdwG
— Ramesh Bala (@rameshlaus) May 28, 2019
Subramaniam noted that at present, there is no fixed rate when it comes to profit sharing. “For big actors, we pay 70-65 per cent at present. We are now telling we can’t pay so much and we will give 60-55 per cent of the share,” he said.
Subramaniam clarified that the plan is still being discussed and the association has set no timeline to implement it. “Unless we follow this business model, theaters can’t survive. How will we profit when we are already paying 18 per cent GST, 8 per cent LBT?” he asked. “We will meet again at Trichy in June and we will arrive at a conclusion on the matter.”
The relationship between the members of exhibitors and distributors association and the producers’ council have been testy for the last few years. The two film bodies have had differences and even sought legal actions against each other in the past.
In light of the new development, it remains to be seen if the Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council (TFPC) would be open to entertaining the new idea of the theater owners.