In a move that could provide temporary relief to producers of other Indian language movies, the State government has revised the entertainment tax (ET) for regional non-Tamil films down to 15%.
The Producers Guild of India and the Telugu Film Producers Council had earlier opposed the State government’s decision to levy a 20% entertainment tax for regional and international films, and the reduction in ET, sources say, is likely to open the floodgates.
“Golmaal Again is likely to hit the theatres this Friday. We are keeping our fingers crossed because once a Hindi film releases, it could be followed by many others. So, we are hopeful that the release of Golmaal Again will end the stalemate,” said a multiplex owner.
Pan-Indian multiplex chains such as Inox and PVR Cinemas have decided to shut shop for Deepavali in protest against the ET levied by the local bodies in Tamil Nadu.
The ET for English and other foreign language films, however, remains the same at 20%.
Distributors and exhibitors say that multiplexes will be the worst hit.
“Regional films and international films make up around 30-40% of programming in multiplexes. They will suffer immensely. Plus, multiplexes, which are popular in other States as well, might be worried that other governments will also follow the Tamil Nadu example,” he said.
The Government Order also states that a 7% tax has to be paid for the re-release of older Tamil films and a 10% tax will be levied on other Indian language films.
Despite increased ticket rates, actor Vijay’s Mersal, which received the UA certification from the Censor Board, has seen really strong advance booking, according to several distributors. Ashish Saksena, COO-Cinemas, BookMyShow, said, “Mersal is indeed one of the most awaited and high-profile Tamil releases of the year. The film will be released across most of the cinemas in Tamil Nadu and the screen count is expected to be over 500 in the Tamil Nadu region alone. It is also expected to be released in more than 3,000 screens across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala and in the U.S., the UAE, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.”