Mumbai: The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has appealed to studio partners, producers, artistes and content creators to support the cinema exhibition sector by holding their films and releasing them in theatres once they're opened again.
India is currently under the lockdown with around 1.3 billion people asked to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
There were rumours that several films are looking at a direct-to-digital release amid the lockdown, including Akshay Kumar starrer "Laxmmi Bomb".
In a statement, MAI requested producers to "respect the exclusive theatrical window."
"MAI would like to urge all studio partners, producers, artistes and content creators to support the cinema exhibition sector, a vital part of the value chain, by holding and releasing their films in the theatres, once they open again.
"To this end, we urge all studios, producers, artistes and other content creators, to kindly respect the exclusive theatrical window, which has been a time-tested industry practice, agreed to by all stake-holders, not just in India, but even globally, for several decades," the statement read.
MAI said when the crisis ends, the combination of the "pent-up demand" and the promise of new movies would boost film business and contribute massively in reviving the industry.
"The collective, social experience of watching films on the big screen needs to be preserved and it can be done so only with the collective support of all stakeholders."
Established under the aegis of FICCI in 2002, the national multiplex trade body represents more than 18 regional and national multiplex chains, including PVR, INOX, Carnival and Cinepolis, and operates more than 2900 screens across the country.
Calling the situation "truly unprecedented and unparalleled," the association said it is committed to working with government institutions and partners through the weeks and months to come to ensure that cinemas survive this "testing time and once again become the vibrant home of entertainment, culture and community that they always have been."
"We are also thankful to the studios, directors, producers and everyone in the Indian film industry who have shown their faith in cinema exhibition by coming out and voicing their support, over the past week.
"By supporting each other now, we will return stronger than ever when we are again able to welcome back the many crores of devoted film fans who miss the big screen every bit as much as we do."
The association had previously appealed to landlords across the country to waive off rent and common area maintenance (CAM) for all the multiplex operators during the period of the current nation-wide lockdown.