With #MeToo exposé, entertainment business staring at Rs 500 crore loss

So far content creators like Phantom and AIB, which had deals with big production houses like Netflix, Amazon and Star have lost business worth hundreds of crores owing to the growing #Metoo movement

by Ruhail Amin & Venkata Susmita Biswas
Published - Oct 11, 2018 9:08 AM Updated: Oct 11, 2018 9:08 AM
Me too

With #MeToo movement gaining momentum in India, the country’s foremost content production houses – AIB and Phantom Films have come under its spell. The two production houses had forged deals worth hundreds of crores with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Star, which are now under review and some of them have already been shelved.

If we look at Bollywood, Vikas Behl’s movie ‘Super 30’, Subhash Kapoor’s venture ‘Mogul’ and Nana Patekar’s upcoming movie ‘Housefull 4’, pegged collectively at Rs 275 crore, could also face the brunt as their names have surfaced in the #Metoo expose.

AIB Loses Plum Projects

If we look at AIB deals, a total of 30 episodes were planned for Season 3 of ‘On Air with AIB’. With the cancellation of the show that began airing on September 24 on Hotstar, as many as 23 episodes of the show will not see the light of day. As much as 70 per cent of the show has been cancelled. 

In a recent development, the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) has dropped two films - AIB's 'Chintu Ka Birthday' and Rajat Kapoor's 'Kadakh' - from the line-up of the upcoming 20th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in the wake of the #MeToo tide. AIB's Gursimran Khamba and Rajat Kapoor are facing allegations of sexual harassment. 

Supporting the #MeToo movement that is gaining momentum in India, MAMI organisers said in a statement, "We want to use this opportunity to open up the conversation, and find solutions to harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Starting with this edition of the festival, we would like to unite the community to find positive and constructive ways to deal with it."

AIB has regularly collaborated with brands for content marketing initiatives. The dissolution of the comedy collective and the negative perception about the co-founders could potentially harm future projects in the pipeline, and it has already started with Star cancelling its deal with AIB.

exchange4media has reliably learnt that following the series of revelations in the #MeToo campaign, the production of AIB's show titled Gormint - an Amazon Prime Video Original - has also been stalled for the time being. exchange4media reached out to Amazon Prime Video for a comment, but did not receive any response. 

Bollywood Blues

With the names of Vikas Behl, Subhash Kapoor and Nana Patekar surfacing in the #Metoo controversy, the projects associated with them—‘Super 30’, Directed by Vikas Behl and produced by Reliance Entertainment, Phantom Films (Now Dissolved), Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment; ‘Mogul’, a joint production of Aamir Khan Productions and T-Series and ‘Housefull 4’, starring Nana Patekar may have to pay for landing in controversy, more so for the Vikas Behl directed venture which is gearing up for release.

If we look at the money involved, ‘Super 30’, which is being completed for November 2018 release has a budget of Rs 100 crore while ‘Housefull 4’ will be made with a budget of Rs 75 crore and ‘Mogul’s budget is upwards Rs 100 crore. In all, the three movies have Rs 275 crore riding on them and the producers are making all attempts to save their films from the #Metoo controversy.

According to Atul Mohan, Film Trade Analyst and Editor of Complete Cinema, the collective loss staring at the entertainment industry with the controversy around AIB, Phantom, Vikas Behl, Subhash Kapoor and Nana Patekar could be to the tune of Rs 500 crore. “The way things have shaped up in the last few days has impacted AIB and Phantom majorly. If you look at the cancelled deals of AIB and the dissolving of Phatom, all their upcoming ventures, including Netflix 2, have come under the shadow of uncertainty. Phantom, which was a loss making venture for a long time had recently tasted some success but with the new controversy surrounding it, its hit formula has gone for a toss. If we look at the cumulative threat to business, it will be in the range of over Rs 500 crore,” stated Mohan.

Besides the entertainment industry the movement has also rocked the media industry with several senior journalists been asked to quit or go on administrative leave. National daily, Times of India, took action against its Hyderabad editor KR Sreenivas who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct, he was sent on ‘administrative leave’ till an inquiry is conducted and completed against him. DNA Mumbai founding editor, Gautam Adhikari, resigned as a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress (CAP) after he was accused in multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Prashant Jha of the Hindustan Times stepped down as Political Editor and bureau chief after a former colleague accused him of harassing her.

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