OTT vs cinema theatre war! Sooryavanshi, 83 to release in theatres, say film exhibitors

By: |
July 1, 2020 6:15 AM

PVR Cinemas, Inox and Carnival Cinemas separately tweeted they are gearing up to release Sooryavanshi during Diwali and 83 during Christmas.

Theatres have been shut for more than three months and resumption of their operations in the near term looks difficult as Coronavirus cases are spiralling across the country. Theatres have been shut for more than three months and resumption of their operations in the near term looks difficult as Coronavirus cases are spiralling across the country.

A day after Disney+Hotstar unveiled a slate of seven Bollywood movies it is set to premiere directly on its platform, including a couple of big films, film exhibitors said Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi and Ranveer Singh-led 83 will be released in the theatres. PVR Cinemas, Inox and Carnival Cinemas separately tweeted they are gearing up to release Sooryavanshi during Diwali and 83 during Christmas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mohan Umrotkar, CEO of Carnival Cinemas, in a statement said that it is disappointing to see filmmakers opting for “digital-first route when we are just steps away from the theatrical releases with the reopening of cinema halls across the country”.

Amazon Prime Video was the first OTT player to kick off the direct-to-digital trend with the acquisition of Gulabo Sitabo that premiered globally on the platform on June 12. Netflix is all set to premiere Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. While direct-to-digital releases certainly help producers to monetise their movies, who until their launch keeps incurring holding costs, it also shifts the onus of the marketing to the OTT platforms, thereby taking the expenses off producers’ books, said film experts.

Theatres have been shut for more than three months and resumption of their operations in the near term looks difficult as Coronavirus cases are spiralling across the country. Fear of enclosed, air-conditioned spaces are likely to keep viewers away from cinemas even if they open post lockdown, analysts said. Crisil Ratings estimates occupancy rates will halve to nearly 15% in FY21, compared to about 30% in the previous two financial years.

Shibasish Sarkar, group CEO, content, digital and gaming at Reliance Entertainment, which is backing Sooryavanshi and 83 with other production companies, had earlier said: “We will try to hold the movies for the theatres to the extent possible.”

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