Indonesia asks Hollywood to find other importers
Debates over the absence of Hollywood movies at local cinemas have gone bilateral, with Indonesia asking the US to find other importers to end the five-month Hollywood movie drought amid the summer blockbuster season.
Local importers, which have the exclusive rights to import Hollywood blockbusters, have suspended import activities since January as they settle tax cases in court involving Rp 300 billion (US$35.09 million) in royalty fees and penalties in arrears. The importers said they were never aware of such obligations.
Ever since, Indonesians enjoying the luxury of movie theaters in 65 cities across the country have been screening lower-quality flicks such as Beastly and What Women Want, while much-awaited blockbuster films such as Black Swan and Kung Fu Panda 2 are nowhere to be seen.
“In the [bilateral] meeting, which was also attended by the US ambassador, we said there were many importers willing to work with them,” Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said over the weekend.
Indonesia’s cinema industry has long been dominated by the Cineplex 21 Group, which acts as both importer and distributor and also owns the largest theater chain. Of 600 total theaters in the country, about 500 are owned by the 21 Cineplex Group, 50 by Blitz Megaplex and the remaining by various other businesses.