Will cinemas lose their exclusivity for new releases

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on April 21, 2021

Industry worried as Salman-starrer Radhe... is set to hit cinemas, OTT and DTH platforms on the same day

As the film industry battles with restrictions due to the second wave of the pandemic, the decision to release the Salman Khan starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai simultaneously across theatres and OTT, has the industry worried.

On Wednesday, Salman Khan Films and Zee Studios said they are adopting a multi-platform strategy for the Eid release. The two companies said that they will try to ensure that the film hits as many screens as possible. But the film will also be released simultaneously on the OTT platform ZEE5 and across all the leading DTH platforms through the pay per view service ZEEPlex.

‘Others may follow’

While some industry observers fear that other big budget films may follow a similar strategy, experts also pointed out that the general norm of an exclusive theatrical window of 6-8 weeks may also get impacted.

Sources also said it remains to be seen whether the national multiplex chains will agree to the simultaneous release strategy of the film makers.

Karan Taurani, Vice-President, Elara Capital said with cinemas being shut in Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and the rising cases, it is highly unlikely that they will see much benefit of the release. “We expect some other small and medium films to hit the direct OTT route as many producers may not be able to wait for the cinemas to re-open,” he added.

‘Challenge for cinemas’

Film producer, trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar said other film makers may also look at a similar strategy of simultaneous release across theatres and OTT platforms. He added that this makes things extremely challenging for theatres especially single screen cinemas which are fighting for their survival and had been banking on the mass commercial films

Another trade expert, however, said that this is unlikely to set a precedent for the industry and may end up being a one-off case of simultaneous release, given the rising Covid cases.

Published on April 21, 2021

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