Why ‘Avatar: The Way of the Water’ May Not See a Kerala Release

Fans of James Cameron’s “Avatar” movie who live in Kerala may have to hold off a little bit longer before they can watch the upcoming sequel to the film called ‘Way of the Water.’ The Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) may not be releasing the film that had been eagerly anticipated, according to reports.

But Why is This?

The FEUOK and the creators of “Avatar: The Way of the Water” could not come to an agreement regarding the profit-sharing terms, a report by Wion stated. The Malayalam film industry collectively referred to the new circumstances that the producers of the Hollywood blockbuster were working under as “unusual.”

K Vijayakumar, the president of FEUOK, said, “It is not being banned here. Their terms and conditions are not something we can agree to. They are making unusual pay demands on the single-screen theatres that are located in Kerala. That is something that we cannot allow. We are not going to restrict the viewing of any movies. However, we will not be releasing Avatar 2 in the state of Kerala. We are anticipating that they will engage in negotiation.”

The state’s film exhibitor’s body has made the decision not to screen the film because its producers demanded an increased share of the profits—60%—in the first few weeks of the film’s release, which is above the typical percentage of 50% that goes to producers, a report by Indian Express said.

A Negotiation Possible?

In Kerala, there are some regulations in place regarding the screening of films that are made in languages other than Malayalam.

It would be difficult to completely forego the release of “Avatar” given that it has earned more than $2.92 billion in ticket sales (including re-releases of the film). There has been an overwhelming response to the film’s advance bookings, which has led to multiplex chains making the announcement that they anticipate the film having a massive debut in India.

Nonetheless, Kerala’s exhibitors are concerned that the release will establish an unhealthy pattern for profit-sharing. “It is not against the rules to do so here. Their terms and conditions are not something we can agree to. They are making unusual pay demands on the single-screen theatres that are located in Kerala. That is something that we cannot allow. We are not going to restrict the viewing of any movies. However, we will not be releasing Avatar 2 in the state of Kerala. Vijayakumar told the Indian Express, that they are expecting negotiations from their side.”

Is FEUOK in Charge of All Theatres?

However, while FEUOK is not in charge of all theatres in Kerala, it is in charge of managing the operations in some 400 or so single screens out of the nearly 700 screens that are located in Kerala. Only original Malayalam films are eligible to receive the organization’s standard share of profits, which is sixty percent. The new requirement that “Avatar 2″ must remain in theatres for a period of at least three weeks has also been met with opposition from the film’s distributors and exhibitors.

However, there are some exhibitors who are optimistic that a compromise will be reached soon. A movie like “Avatar 2″ will be able to keep audiences interested for that length of time, according to Liberty Basheer, president of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation. The Federation has control over approximately 200 screens, and Basheer told media theatres part of their organisation were prepared to give a share of profits equal to 55% for the first two weeks of the run.

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