The cinema halls across the country have faced immense losses over the past eight months, after the lockdown was imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Now, some states have allowed the theatres to reopen, including Tamil Nadu where the industry resumed operation tomorrow. In spite of that, there might not be a new film opening on the screens. Vijay's Master is ready for a release, yet the makers are hesitant to invite the audience to the theatres yet. But, the issue runs deeper. The producers, exhibitors and digital service providers (DSPs) over the payment of a virtual print fee (VPF). The talks between three parties have been going on for the past four days, but to no avail.
Director Bharathirajaa, who is the president of the Tamil Film Active Producers Association (TFAPA), released a statement on behalf of the association stating that producers will not release new films in theatres until producers are asked to not pay VPF. But the statement and the boycott did not sit well with the one of the leading DSPs QUBE.
Check Out QUBE's Press Release Here:
Qube Cinema condemns TFAPA’s boycott of new releases as theatres struggle to regain a foothold post lockdown. pic.twitter.com/ztbK8nEQCx
— Qube Cinema (@qubecinema) November 9, 2020
QUBE's statement read: "Our industry has faced immense losses over the last seven months due to the lockdown, and will continue to take time to recoup due to being allowed to operate at only 50% capacity for the time being. Qube Cinema had initially and proactively announced a 50% reduction in VPF during this period, which was later amended to 60% after pressure from the TFAPA, who now insist on a complete elimination of the fees... Both the Central and State governments have supported the view that the tradition of new releases for Deepavali should continue this year, which is why the boycott by the TFAPA is not only unethical towards theatres and digital cinema providers but also unfair to audiences. It is our understanding that producers who have been eager to release new films have been pressured to conform to the boycott,"
The TFAPA is leveraging this unprecedented period of struggle in order to gain as many concessions from theatres and digital service providers as possible for itself, without regard for how it affects the industry at large or the cinema audience. The theatre experience simply cannot be replicated at home or on streaming platforms, and the satisfaction of the audience is our ultimate goal. We have already offered a significant compromise in the VPF charges as digital service providers, and it is vital that producers agree to it rather than threaten the livelihoods of vulnerable theatres. This is a time when the industry must come together to ensure that cinema survives, and we are shocked by the TFAPA’s opportunistic demands," their statement read.