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Theater giant faces boycott over popcorn discount

Turkey’s film producers are seeing red over a plan by movie theater giant Mars Entertainment to give movie-goers free popcorn and soda.

According to the mass circulating Hurriyet Daily newspaper Mars Entertainment, which controls the biggest slice of Turkey’s film distribution and exhibition market in Turkey, plans to sell tickets with pop-corn and soda. The cost of the popcorn and soda will come from the ticket price included in the package.

Film producers have objected as they aim to preserve their share of income from the ticket sales.

The controversy began to unfold as famous Turkish actor and director Yilmaz Erdogan, who made his debut into international audiences in the movie “Water Diviner” made by Russell Crowe, announced a decision to delay the release of his latest movie “Magic Carpet Ride 2”.

On the next day after Erdogan’s decision, the Theatre Investors Association (SISAY) met with the representatives of film production companies, including BKM, the production company co-owned by Yilmaz Erdogan.

The disagreement between distributors and producers has been exacerbated by a bill that will regulating the film industry and which Turkey’s parliament is set to vote on in the coming weeks.

The bill has been denounced by Mars Entertainment, for it obliges theatre owners to sign a written agreement with film producers over the promotions to be made on ticket sales for their respective movies.

Failed negotiations

Negotiations between producers and distributors failed to bring about an agreement between the two parties.

Reportedly the film producers are proposing to boycott the Mars Entertainment and if an agreement is not reached soon, the release of movies that have huge audience potential are likely to affect prominent film producers such as famous the Turkish comedian, actor and director Cem Yilmaz.

Yılmaz Erdogan(left), and Cem Yılmaz(middle) are two prominent Turkish actors, comedians; Russell Crowe(right) (Photo: celebrity pictures.wiki)

Following meeting between distributers and producers, Cengiz Semercioglu, a columnist for Kelebek, the magazine supplement of Hurriyet Daily, conducted an interview with Asli Irmak Acar, Corporate Relations Manager (CRM) of the Mars Entertainment Group, on December 30.

Acar said in the interview that figures like Cem Yilmaz will be created if he is not willing to produce.

“We are going to find the ones who will produce if they don’t,” she asserted.

This statement infuriated the Turkish actor, who responded via his Twitter account saying that she should leave creating figures like him aside and fix the ticket price for movies at 15 lira instead of 40 lira.

Below it’s his tweet as a reaction to Acar’s remarks.

Yilmaz Erdogan endorsed him from his Twitter account saying: “I could not recognize this lady, who went so far as creating new figures like Cem Yilmaz, as well.”

Columnist Semercioglu joined the debate from his account underlining that it is his business as a journalist to publish the interview and that the fury of Cem Yilmaz and other film producers alike should target the interviewee instead of the person carrying out the interview.

“In my opinion, billions spent wouldn’t be enough to create a new Cem Yilmaz or Yilmaz Erdogan,” he added.

According to the figures given by the sources from within the industry, Mars Entertainment owns 43 percent of the distribution channels, and 905 theatres of the country’s 2692 cinemas.

In addition to its dominance over the distribution-exhibition chain, Mars Entertainment plans to take part in the production process as well. According to statements given by the CEO of Mars Entertainment, Dong Won Kwak, which were quoted in the Dunya daily newspaper in October 2018, the company aims to double its subsidizing of producers by 2019.

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