‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ distributor responds to cinema row over blockbuster

'The Legend of Maula Jatt' distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla set the record straight over recent cinema rows in a press conference on Thursday

By |
The Legend of Maula Jatt distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla set the record straight over recent cinema rows in a press conference on Thursday
'The Legend of Maula Jatt' distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla set the record straight over recent cinema rows in a press conference on Thursday

As Bilal Lashari’s The Legend of Maula Jatt continues it record-breaking box-office run despite more than half of Pakistan’s cinemas not showing the film, distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla responded to speculations about a rift between his Mandviwalla Entertainment and key exhibitors in the country.

Setting the record straight during a press conference in Karachi on Thursday, October 20, 2022, the CEO of Mandviwalla Entertainment claimed that he had provided multiple strategies to cinema-owners before the release of Lashari’s magnum opus, ensuring them that it will ‘not disrupt the way they do their business’.

Mandviwalla said his plans asked for cinema-owners to increase the ticket prices for only the first 11 days of the film’s box-office run, in an effort to ensure a small percentage increase in the pay-out for the film’s producers who, according to him, have delivered a stellar big-budget flick.

He explained: “Universally, whenever mega productions are released cinema owners or groups support such films by giving more screens so that maximum box office collections are done in the initial fortnight.”

“In the alternative, where screens are unavailable, admission rates are increased, and a higher percentage of the box office is shared with the distributors. The objective is to assist the films box office collection in the initial period and support the distributors and producers without sacrificing revenue of the exhibitor. A win-win for all.”

Mandviwalla added, “Unfortunately, in Pakistan, some cinema groups opted to not go the extra mile and support the costliest Pakistani production to date, justifying their decision not to do so by misrepresenting facts.”

“I am here to present you all facts and figures, so you understand the situation and the economics surrounding it and am happy to answer all queries.”

He also shared two different strategy options that he presented to exhibitors, and said that he then gave them the ultimate choice between those two options; as per Mandviwalla, his only job was to convince the exhibitors of the need to maximise the producers’ profits.

“Out of the six big players in the cinema business, three agreed on the strategies provided to them, and three did not, which is their right,” said Mandviwalla, before explaining: “There are 38 cinema-owners in Pakistan, out of which some 32-34 were onboard with our proposed options. However, when the last four asked for flexibility, we were stuck.”

“We had committed to those we struck a deal with that we will get everyone on the same page, so when these four refused, it meant that we would have to go back on our commitment with others, which ultimately meant huge losses for not just us but also the producers,” Mandviwalla explained.

Mandviwalla also categorically separated himself from rumours about a deadlock or feud between the distributor and cinema-owners, saying: “I have nothing to do with these speculations… I only made a strategy for the producers of the film… This is not my film, I don’t own it, and neither can I make decisions for the makers of it.”

“I presented my strategy plans to the producers, they chose the one they wanted to go forward with, and that’s what we did. It was never our intention to hurt the business of others, or to make decisions for them,” Mandviwalla concluded.

Earlier this week, Encyclomedia and Lashari films joint production in association with AAA Motion Pictures and its distributors, Mandviwalla Entertainment (Pakistan) and Moviegoers Entertainment (overseas) announced a smash hit opening for The Legend of Maula Jatt, both in domestic and overseas markets.

In its opening weekend, the largest-mounted Pakistan-made, Punjabi language film to date has shown collections of Rs510 million.

The movie’s presenting partner in Pakistan is the country’s biggest media giant, Geo Films.