Hollywood Struggles to Get Back Into Indonesia
Western companies have flocked to Indonesia to sell everything from Louis Vuitton bags to Pizza Hut but one big business has held out against the foreign invasion. Cinema screens are currently off limits to most Hollywood blockbusters — thanks to a virtual monopoly on film imports by a single company.
And moviegoers in the nation of 240 million have just about had enough.
With a booming national economy, a growing middle class and a relatively young population — 36 percent are between the ages of 15 and 40 — Indonesia provides a near bottomless market for consumer industries.
Yet the film world has managed to escape many of the reforms that resulted in the dismantling of monopolies following the collapse in 1998 of the 32-year dictatorship of Suharto, who placed control of entire sectors in the hands of family and trusted friends.
As long as Group 21 maintains a firm grip on all film imports and most screens in theaters nationwide, cinema lovers will have little to cheer about, said Raam Punjabi, a prominent producer and outspoken critic of the movie industry.