Indonesia to miss Harry Potter magic

Harry Potter’s final battle will not be taking place on the silver screen this summer in Indonesia, but will instead be confined to the courtroom.

The film, which stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and is set to be the year’s top blockbuster, is the biggest victim so far of a dispute between Hollywood film-makers and the tax authorities in Jakarta.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 was due to open on Wednesday nationwide in the country of 240m people. But instead Indonesian film buffs will have to make do with domestic movies, as leading US film studios continue to boycott the market.

“Unfortunately we are going to miss Harry Potter and the whole summer blockbuster season in 2011,” Ananda Siregar, head of Blitz Megaplex, Indonesia’s second-largest movie theatre operator, said. “Indonesians better prepare themselves for not seeing their favourite Hollywood movies for quite some time.”

The tax dispute with Indonesia led US film studios – including Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney and Warner Brothers – to block imports of new movies.

Indonesian filmgoers have had to watch local productions and B-movies since February, when a new government system for royalties and value added tax was announced.

Box office ticket sales have plunged a dramatic 50 per cent from last year as a result, Mr. Siregar said. Bitz, which owns about 60 theatres, said up to 70 per cent of all ticket sales in Indonesia came from Hollywood movies.

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