Mirroring the Industry: Sooryavanshi and Radhe in cinemas, but why is Bell Bottom exploring an OTT release?

While Salman Khan's Radhe is confirmed for an Eid 2021 opening, Akshay Kumar's Sooryavanshi might be the first major Hindi film to release in cinema halls. But what does Bell Bottom taking OTT route mean?
Mirroring the Industry: Sooryavanshi and Radhe in cinemas, but why is Bell Bottom exploring an OTT release? Mirroring the Industry: Sooryavanshi and Radhe in cinemas, but why is Bell Bottom exploring an OTT release?
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January 19 was a historic day, as India won a test series against Australia in their own den. As the country was celebrating, the exhibitors of India also got a reason to rejoice as their most wanted superstar, Salman Khan, finally put the record straight and confirmed that his next film, Radhe, will release only in “theatres” during the Eid 2021 weekend. With the announcement, Salman became the first A-List superstar to come out and take an open stand for exhibitors and also, the first superstar to announce the “theatrical release date” of his film in between the pandemic.

To the ones who are not aware, in September and October last year, Salman was flooded with offers from OTT platforms to bring his film, Radhe on their platform. The OTT players keen to get the exclusive streaming rights of Radhe were Amazon Prime, who had made an offer of Rs 175 crore plus, and Eros Now, offering Rs 180 crore plus, solely for the streaming rights. However, in the longer run, keeping the best interest of everyone in mind, the producers of Radhe stood their ground to bring the film only in cinemas. The theatrical, satellite, digital and music rights of Radhe have been acquired by Zee Studios for a sum of Rs 230 crore, thereby making it the biggest deals in Covid times. While the producer, Salman is already in profits, it’s a reasonable deal for even Zee, standing a high chance to mint money.

Eid has been synonymous with Salman, in-fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he took the festival to new heights in terms of theatrical biz in India
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While the exhibition sector and fans are awaiting Eid i.e., May 12, there is a certain section who is wonder if Salman should have come earlier in February or March to revive cinema halls.  But well, our view point is that, more than the date of release, him coming on the big screen holds more importance, as the easiest thing for him was to take the OTT route. It’s the intent of bringing the film in cinemas that makes the difference. Eid has been synonymous with Salman, in-fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he took the festival to new heights in terms of theatrical biz in India, and an action film like Radhe, arriving on Eid, should aim at scaling up the initial run at box-office in the Hindi circuits in this pandemic.

On the other hand, wait and watch game continues for Akshay Kumar’s cop thriller, Sooryavanshi, which is easily among the biggest releases of 2021. While it’s confirmed that the Rohit Shetty directed film will arrive only in the cinemas, we are yet to hear officially on the exact date of release. The buzz in the trade is the action thriller will arrive during the Holi weekend on March 26, however, an insider reveals that a meeting of producer, Shibashish Sarkar, with his directors and actors will take place within a week to decide on the release plans of not just Sooryavanshi, but also the Ranveer Singh starrer ’83. A Republic Day announcement is unlikely as the makers are looking to follow the tight promotional campaign, keeping all the cards close to their chest, but well, we would love to be surprised. However, a second theatrical trailer of Sooryavanshi is ready, and the ones who have seen it, can’t stop raving about the scale, action and this time around, some humour as well. It’s apparently even better than the first one.

Second theatrical trailer of Sooryavanshi is ready, and the ones who have seen it, can’t stop raving about the scale, action and this time around, some humour as well. It’s apparently even better than the first one.
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Team Sooryavanshi too have taken the brave call of waiting it out in the midst of pandemic and that too after launching their most important asset i.e. trailer. Like Radhe, even Sooryavanshi had offers from platforms like Netflix and Zee 5, however, they stood their ground adamant for a theatrical opening. The stakes with this film are high, and in all possibilities, it should be the first major Hindi feature film to bring back the audience on big screen. After all, it’s Akshay Kumar in action after a long time, that too with a powerhouse director like Rohit Shetty. The film also features Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh in extended cameos.

With two films, as big as Radhe and Sooryavanshi waiting for almost a year to arrive in cinema’s, it’s a rather surprising development that the team of another Akshay Kumar film, Bell Bottom have started some sort of conversation to explore a direct-to-digital release. While sources inform that “the team is just trying to gauge the market value of the film in the digital world, and will take a final call on release plan of the film only after the release of Sooryavanshi,” it’s rather shocking that the makers of a film as big as Bell Bottom, are even having second thoughts about bringing it on digital platform, and that too in times when the corona fear is going down and cinema halls have opened their shutters all across. The source shares that Amazon has made an offer of Rs 130 crore plus to Bell Bottom, while the producers except something around the Rs 150 crore mark, considering that Akshay’s maiden stint on OTT, Laxmii fetched Rs 140 crore from Hotstar.

Amazon has made an offer of Rs 130 crore plus to Bell Bottom, while the producers except something around the Rs 150 crore mark
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Interestingly, in today’s time, Akshay Kumar, is among the very few, who has the mass following and can bring the audience back to cinema halls. In-fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he was in the golden phase of his career until the pandemic played the spoilt sport. If Sooryavanshi arrives in March or April, Bell Bottom can easily target a theatrical release in June, which is just a two-month delay from its initial plan of April 2. And well, if Sooryavanshi doesn’t arrive in the aforementioned period, why can’t Bell Bottom open up the floodgates on April 2, by being the first major Hindi film to release in theatres? But the final question still remains, what’s the status quo of Bell Bottom at the moment? It’s same as the status of most teenagers today, single but open for relationship, likewise, Bell Bottom is a theatrical release, but open for OTT. Terms and conditions apply.

We hope, these are just early conversations that have been initiated by team Bell Bottom, and the film releases “only in theatres” as promised in the teaser of Bell Bottom.

Also Read| EXCLUSIVE: Bollywood Producers come TOGETHER to chalk out a TENTATIVE release calendar – Details

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