Perturbed by the move among some producers to consider the OTT platform as the new window to premiere their films in the wake of the lockdown and the looming uncertainty about when the public will return to cinemas in the new normal scenario even after cinemas are allowed to reopen, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has issued an appeal to the film industry to stay united and respect cinemas as the preferred choice of premiere release of their films. The press release, issued by the MAI and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) states:
“The global coronavirus pandemic has seen the cinema sector suffer massive financial losses, with thousands of screens countrywide forced to close down, and many employees, not just of cinemas, but even their supply chains and other stakeholders, facing personal hardships. The situation is truly unprecedented and unparalleled.
“Collective action to tide over and emerge out of this crisis, from all industry constituents, is more important than ever.
“The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) is committed to working with government institutions and partners through the weeks and months to come to ensure that cinemas survive this testing time and once again become the vibrant home of entertainment, culture and community that they always have been.
“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.
“The MAI would like to urge all studio partners, producers, artistes and content creators to support the cinema exhibition sector, a vital part of the value chain, by holding and releasing their films in the theatres, once they open again. To this end, 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, agreed to by all stake-holders, not just in India, but even globally, for several decades.
“When this crisis passes, the combination of the pent-up demand and the promise of new movies, we are sure, would boost film business and contribute massively in reviving our industry. The collective, social experience of watching films on the big screen needs to be preserved and it can be done so, only with the collective support of all stakeholders.
“We are also thankful to the studios, directors, producers and everyone involved in the Indian film industry, who have shown their faith in cinema exhibition by coming out and voicing their support, over the past weeks.
“By supporting each other now, we will return stronger than ever when we are again able to welcome back the many crores of devoted film fans who miss the big screen every bit as much as we do. The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) is a nationwide group of cinema operators that informs, educates and advocates on behalf of the cinema exhibition sector. It works with regulatory bodies and industry partners nationwide to raise the profile of cinema, highlight opportunities, and address various challenges faced by the cinema exhibition sector. The MAI was established in 2002 under the auspices of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) by leading cinema operators.”