Mollywood is heading towards a crisis after an ongoing tiff between producers, exhibitors and distributors took an ugly turn after producers and distributors decided to release Malayalam movies in multiplexes and government owned theatres. The decision came after Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation chose to down the shutters of all 350 'A' class theatres from Thursday onwards. 

It has been almost one month since a new Malayalam movie was released in the state. Dispute between distributors, producers and exhibitors over sharing of revenue has stalled the release of new movies in the state since December 16. 

As several attempts went futile, producers and distributors decided to take a new approach, to release movies in theatres that do not fall under the Federation. In a first step Kollywood actor Vijay's Bairavaa will be released in theatres of non-Federation members, state government and multiplexes. 

Distributors of Vijay film has also warned protesting theatres of legal action if they would not release the movie as per prior agreement. "Those who, entered into an agreement with M/S Sayujyam Cine Release, Kottayam, abstain from the release of Tamil film Bairavaa will be liable to pa all losses sustained by us," Sayujyam Cine Release has warned theatres through a newspaper ad. 

The issue began with Federation members demanding 50% share instead of 40%, from distributors and producers. They claimed that current 40% stake was devised in 2003, but the industry has changed dramatically from then on. Producers earn revenue from different sources like DVD sales and satellite rights, but theatre owners get revenue only from the sale of the ticket, theatre owners said. 

But producers are of the opinion that even multiplexes, with higher ticket rates and better facilities are sharing 50% revenue. Producer carries the risk while theatres are getting a substantial amount from reservation charges. 

Films costing ₹40 crore, which was scheduled for Christmas release was hit by the strike. Films of superstars like Mohanlal’s Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol, Dulquer Salmaan’s Jomonte Suviseshangal, Jayasurya’s Fukri and Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Ezra was put on hold. Producers say they have lost over ₹15 crore in last three weeks. 


Here's the new release date of Malayalam films

Film                                                               Month               Day 

Jomonte Suviseshangal                         January 19        Thursday

Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol          January  26       Thursday

Ezra, Fukri                                               January  30        Monday



There are two types of theatres in Kerala, releasing centres and 'B' and 'C' class theatres where films are played after one or two weeks of release. Owners of 'B' and 'C' class theatres comes under Kerala Film Exhibitors’ Association. There are only 475 movie halls and 25 odd multiplexes in the state, of which 350 comes under 'A' class, releasing centres. Of the 123 'B' and 'C' class theatres, only 98 is in operation. Of them, only 80 have improved facilities. 

As several meetings failed to bring any result, the government has interfered and proposed to set up a regulatory board to address the issue. Meanwhile, producers and distributors plan to release the film in 'B' and 'C' class theatres starting next week.