The Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners' Association has announced a new revenue sharing model based on the market value of the male stars of Tamil film fraternity. The unprecedented move, if implemented, will be both a boon and a bane, feel industry experts.
According to the new model, theatre owners would share revenues based on the collections of a film across various centres, week by week.
While superstar Rajinikanth, Ajith and Vijay constitute tier 1 of the group, Suriya, Jayam Ravi, Dhanush, Simbu, Sivakarthikeyan and Vijay Sethupathi form the tier 2. The rest of the actors, including Kamal Haasan and Vikram, fall in the tier 3 group.
Tirupur Subramaniam, President of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association, feels the model is a recommendation for the benefit of theatre owners as most of them don't see profits.
"The new model is yet to be implemented. It's necessary because with growing tax rates, maintenance cost and increasing salaries of workers, theatre owners are not able to see profits nowadays. At present, there's no fixed rate when it comes to profit sharing and it changes from film to film. If it's a big film with a star, we pay around 65-70 per cent, which we want to bring down to 55-60 per cent," Subramaniam told IANS.
With theatres already playing 18 per cent GST on top of 8 per cent of local body tax, Subramaniam rues that theatre owners can't see profits with the current profit sharing model.
The new revenue sharing model has categorized stars into three tiers based on their market value.
Filmmaker Arun Vaidyanathan, who has also produced Tamil comedy "Kalyana Samayal Saadham", asked on what grounds were the actors categorized into these tiers.
"Karthi delivered two blockbusters last year in the form of 'Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru' and 'Kadaikutty Singam' last year. Why is that he is not in the second tier and what about Vishal? Are Karthi and Vishal left out because they are members of Tamil Film Producers Council? Also, if Kamal (Haasan) sir returns with 'Indian 2', will he be included in tier 1," Arun questioned.
He also asked how the new revenue sharing model will benefit filmmakers and producers who make small films sans any stars.
"There's already very little hope for small films which seldom get enough screens for release. If this new revenue model gets implemented, they would be making lesser than now due to the new revenue sharing model. Let us understand that the top ten stars of the industry together have around 20-25 releases a year and over 200 other releases are films featuring mid-level actors and those made by small-time filmmakers and producers. If the model benefits a majority of the releases, then it makes sense to implement," he said.
A leading producer, on the condition of anonymity, asked if the new revenue sharing model will bring transparency in collections of films.
"By introducing the new revenue model, can you monitor the multiplexes and other theatres in city areas. What about theatres in tier 2 and tier 3 towns across Tamil Nadu? Who will know how much a film collects in these theatres? Today, if you ask a successful producer how much his last hit film collected, he wouldn't know exactly because there's absolutely no transparency when it comes to box office numbers," he said.
"When a producer doesn't know how much his film exactly collects, what's the need for introducing a new revenue sharing model? If theatre owners alone want to benefit from this move, I really don't think it should be implemented," he added.
The producer also pointed out that the new model will make actors greedier and they will eventually hike their remuneration.
"If the new model gets implemented, the actors in the top two tiers might demand a hike in remuneration as they would know their films will earn better share of profits for the producer. Most producers are already not able to afford paying the leading stars as their salaries run into crores," he rued. [By Haricharan Pudipeddi, IANS]