Malayalam films will now release on OTT platforms only after 42 days of their theatre release. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting convened by the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce in Kochi.

The theatre owners complained that footfall in theatres had declined as a result of early digital releases. Owners pointed out that people shift to theatres only to watch big-budget movies while preferring to watch small and medium budget movies on OTT platforms.

Film Exhibitors United Organization of Kerala threatened not to cooperate with producers who had violated an earlier agreement by the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce that there will be a 42-day window between theatrical and OTT release of movies from April 1, 2023 onwards.

M Renjith, President of Kerala Film Producers Association said that the meeting also decided to ban the entry of representatives of various online channels on the cinema premises to seek audience review.

“There were concerted efforts to tarnish the prospects of a movie even before the end of the first show,” he said.

Producers’ confidence

K Vijayakumar, President of Film Exhibitors United Organization of Kerala (FIOK) told businessline that the rising occupancy in theaters by 40 per cent in the recent period has given the confidence to producers to target theatre audiences.

The increasing trend of audiences coming to cinemas was mainly because of the restrictions put on OTT platforms and the strict regulations imposed to stop fake reviews on new releases.

Earlier, producers take films targeting the OTT audience and rest was for theatres. This trend has now reversed which would be beneficial for the Malayalam film industry as is evident from the release of movies such as Malikappuram, Avatar, or Romancham, garnering good collections.

Moreover, it has been decided by the film chamber, producers, exhibitors, and distributors to sit together, discuss and find solutions for all the issues connected with the film industry. This will be a positive sign for the Malayalam film industry, Vijayakumar added.