Indonesians are fighting to keep Hollywood films in local theatres after warnings that a new tax on foreign-made movies could lead to studios pulling out of the country.
Indonesian authorities see the tax as a way to protect the domestic film industry.
Hollywood as represented by the MPAA has responded that the release of Oscar-nominated Black Swan could be the last for a Hollywood film in this nation of 237 million. Distributors from Europe and Asia have made similar warnings.
Film-lovers have taken to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to complain, while the country's largest cinema chain begged for the government to drop the tax.
We'll see theatres close one by one unless a solution is found, warned Noorca Massardie, spokesman of 21 Cineplex, which has more than 500 screens.
It's outrageous! one woman wrote on Facebook. They're taking away our right to watch high-quality films. She noted that domestic industry, still in its infancy stage, leaves much to be desired.
Minister of Culture Jero Wacik said the tax will be reviewed with a final decision expected in two weeks.
Offsite: The Ghost of Cinema Past
11th June 2011. See
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) stopped distributing films to Indonesia in February after the Indonesian government introduced a new system of calculating and charging royalties on imported films.
I'm sick and bored of not being able to watch good movies in the cinema, said Marisca Djojopranoto, a 25-year-old a film lover in Jakarta: I miss the cinema so much .
Movie fans are not the only ones lamenting the absence of Hollywood films on the big screen. Cinemas are losing between 40 and 50% of their revenues, said Djonny Sjafruddin, chairman of the Indonesian Cinema Operator Association.
We are just showing what we have and what we have are films about ghosts, Sjafruddin said: It's a major blow for the cinemas and if this continues, many of them may fold, he said, adding that some theatres had reduced screening frequencies
and the number of studios used.
Locally produced films, mostly of the horror genre with bizarre titles such as In the Embrace of the Teen Ghost's Widow and Dancing Karawang Ghost, have taken over at the box office. Such films don't cost a lot to produce and they can make a little
profit, Sjafruddin said.