'Angels' demonized by multiplexes

No revenue share for Hanks film, opens on single screens

MUMBAI -- The Tom Hanks thriller "Angels and Demons" had a limited release in India on Friday after producers Sony Pictures and multiplexes failed to agree on revenue-sharing.

The film, based on Dan Brown's popular novel about conspiracy in the Catholic Church, opened in 120 single-screen cinemas across India.

"We could not agree on the terms with multiplexes," Kercy Daruwala, managing director of Sony Pictures in India, said.

"As of now, 'Angels and Demons' will not be releasing in multiplexes in India."

Hollywood movies have a niche audience in India, where locally made Bollywood song-and-dance extravaganzas have a huge fan following.

But a standoff between Bollywood film producers and multiplex chains over revenue sharing has stymied the release of big-ticket movies since April, guaranteeing more viewers for Hollywood releases and small-budget Hindi films.

"Angels and Demons," which opened in the U.S. on May 15, has so far racked up $198.3 million in global ticket sales.

Like its predecessor "The Da Vinci Code," the film stars Tom Hanks as a Harvard professor on a mission to save the papacy while Ron Howard is back directing the film.

Multiplex owners in India said they hoped the standoff over "Angels and Demons" would be resolved soon.

"We are still in negotiations with them and we are hopeful that the film will be shown in multiplexes but there are issues that need to be sorted out," said Devang Sampat, senior vice president at Cinemax, a chain of 75 multiplexes in India.