Indonesians bemoan Hollywood blockbuster blackout
Indonesian moviegoers are facing a bleak year of second-rate foreign releases and lowbrow local productions as Hollywood studios, the government and movie importers remain locked in a protracted standoff.
It’s been four months since major Hollywood studios withdrew films from Indonesia, a nation of 237 million people, in opposition to a new levy on imported movies that was meant to protect local filmmakers.
The government earlier this month announced a revised tax it says will bring back Hollywood, but film buffs remain skeptical.
Another big hurdle must be overcome before blockbusters such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” hit Indonesian theaters. The government has banned Indonesia’s largest film distributors from bringing in new Hollywood movies, pending their payment of more than $30 million in unpaid taxes and related penalties. The film importers are challenging that in court.
“Until I see actual (Hollywood) movies running in the cinemas, I won’t get my hopes up just yet,” said Marvel Sutantio, creator of the blog Indonesian Movie Crisis, which blames “greedy” tax and customs officials for the dearth of new releases.