Pakistani Cinema is reviving. Many potential films are being produced and business has started to thrive. However cinema is still at its very initial stage and is struggling to flourish. Amidst this, all parties involved in the trade of films should play their parts dutifully and truthfully. Unfortunately, Exhibitors have been in a habit of delaying payments to distributors which has caused a lot of troubles recently.

Disney’s film Captain Marvel could not see a timely release in Pakistan because Disney’s payments were being withheld. The distributor did not clear Disney’s outstanding dues as exhibitors had not paid them the share of their previous releases.

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The entire ecosystem of the Cinema Industry tends to get disturbed due to one party’s fault. The culprit behind this crisis are the undoubtedly the exhibitors who do not clear hefty payments.

Due to this, as per trade rumors the distributor of a major upcoming Hollywood flick has now decided that they will not give the film to any exhibitor who has not cleared their previous payments with them. The film is highly anticipated and has successfully created its brand name over time in Pakistan.

In such a situation, the distributor has clearly played well. This Hollywood film is a crucial film as many eagerly await its release. The film has seen an incredible advance booking and is likely to take a remarkable start. Therefore, Cinemas need to clear the distributor’s payments as the absence of this film would otherwise inflict a significant loss upon them.

As per our sources, leading exhibitors have now started clearing the dues of the distributor and the tactic is working well in the distributor’s favor. Apparently, distributors who are releasing big films in Pakistan may be able to recover their payments by putting up similar conditions on exhibitors however in this case, distributors who do not release major films are badly stuck as their dues might as well never be cleared until they release a big film.

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In fact, this tactic may not even always work as we have previously seen that another Hollywood film which recently released in Pakistan did not release in major cinemas due to the same compulsion imposed by its distributor. However the distributor was neither able to recover his money from the cinemas who simply chose not to screen the film, and in addition the distributor suffered as the film’s business was cut short.

Therefore, we can not ignore the problem at large. Distributors are tangled in a grave issue and there are many distributors whose payments have not been cleared yet. As per sources, a leading distributor even has as much as 13 Crore being withheld by the exhibitors.

Whats’ more is that as per our well informed sources, a leading cinema has yet to clear the outstanding dues of a major film Teefa in Trouble. The leading exhibitor is holding 50 lacs of Teefa in Trouble.

Teefa in Trouble comes from filmmakers who are already a part of the industry. If cinemas can blatantly withhold the payments of such a big film then this will surely affect the confidence of independent film makers. How will independent film makers be able to recover their payments when veterans have a hard time recovering their dues? In addition, this will surely shake their confidence and prevent them from entering this field.

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Exhibitors ought to clear payments to ensure the welfare of Cinemas in general. Personal motives would shake the foundations of the Cinema Industry. It is truly a worrisome situation and we hope to see matters resolve between exhibitors and distributors very soon.

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