Indian plexes nix pic bow over B.O. split

'Fanaa' causes fight over revs

Yashraj Films’ renegotiations with multiplexes on revenue-sharing for “Fanaa” has opened up a new can of worms.

The Multiplex Owners Assn. has refused to release the pic, due out Friday and starring Aamir Khan (“Lagaan”) and Kajol, because the producer-distributor Yashraj wants to change the 50-50 split to 60-40.

Exempt are single-screen theaters, which are still the dominant exhibs, although multiplexes are growing fast.

Multiplexes, which charge a higher fee of 100-200 rupees ($2.20-$4.40) depending on the show, are enjoying a five-year entertainment tax break. Single-screen theaters get no such break, but their tickets are cheaper at $1.50-$1.70.

Other distribs are waiting to see who wins the battle before renegotiating deals.

UTV Motion Pictures’ Ronnie Screwvala, whose Piyadarshan-helmed “Chup chup ke” (On the Quiet) is skedded for release later this year, also is trying to leverage a greater share of B.O. coin.

If the exhibs refuse, they will lose out on other highly anticipated Yashraj films, which usually can be counted on for Bollywood hits.

Upcoming for Yashraj are Rakesh Roshan-helmed “Krrish,” sequel to the 2004 money-spinner “Koi mil gaya” (Found Someone), starring Roshan’s son Hrithik; Karan Johar-helmed “Kabhi alvida naa kehena” (Never Say Goodbye); “Dhoom 2,” starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai; and “Kabul Express.”

“Fanaa,” which ironically means “extinction” in Urdu, is facing a ban in the western Indian state of Gujarat due to its star’s activism. Exhibs are refusing to release pic out of fear of retaliation from the youth wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for Khan’s statements on behalf of residents about to be displaced by a government dam.

(Shalini Dore contributed to this report.)

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