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New Bollywood films back in Indian cinemas

BOLLYWOOD producers and Indian multiplex owners said yesterday they resolved their dispute over revenue sharing, ending a nine-week boycott on new film releases.

"The strike has been called off," said producer Mukesh Bhatt, who chairs the United Distributors and Producers Forum. The coalition of Bollywood filmmakers had been pushing multiplexes, which account for about two-thirds of India's box office revenues, to give filmmakers a greater percentage of ticket sales.

The strike left Indian audiences - who spend an estimated 63 billion rupees (US$1.27 billion) each year at theaters - with a tepid array of aging Hollywood blockbusters and regional films to see. Theater occupancy rates plummeted below 15 percent.

Some estimate the boycott cost the industry about US$6 million in lost revenue although others think it was incredibly well-timed. Few movies get released during April and May because the Indian Premier League cricket season keeps audiences glued to their television sets.

Under the new deal, filmmakers and multiplexes will split revenue equally during the first week after a film's release, Bhatt said. Revenue split in subsequent weeks will depend on how well a film does at the box office.


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