After INOX, PVR, Carnival cinemas express disappointment over producers heading to OTT for movie release

Carnival Cinemas has now issued a statement and also expressed its concern over big movies with leading actors heading to OTT platforms for the release.
After INOX, PVR, Carnival cinemas express disappointment over producers heading to OTT for movie releaseAfter INOX, PVR, Carnival cinemas express disappointment over producers heading to OTT for movie release
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With the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shutdown of theatres, the entertainment industry has witnessed a massive jolt as many movie releases have been pushed indefinitely. In such crisis situation, many producers have resorted to OTT platforms for releasing their movies. In fact, the makers of movies like Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan's Gulabo Sitabo, Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi have announced the OTT release on Amazon Prime Video amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Clearly, the multiplex owners aren’t pleased with this move of the producers and have been strongly opposing the decision. Days after multiplex chain INOX and PVR Pictures expressed their disappointment over producers heading to OTT platforms to release their movie, now Carnival cinemas have also issued a statement expressing their concern over the matter and stated that the management was expecting to filmmakers to stand by the theatres in this grave situation.

An official statement from Mohan Umrotkar, CEO, Carnival Cinemas, reads:

“Though we are disappointed with the move of filmmakers to go straight to digital, we understand the financial burden/compulsion that one may have in these times. Even in the past, there have been a few cases of filmmakers facing failure when they opted for digital release, skipping the theatrical run. The ones who have decided to go ahead with the digital release were possibly in a difficult situation due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is money invested; there may be interest (on it), someone wants to minimise the loss and if they are in a position to monetize it, we can’t stop them. The situation is such that you cannot blame anyone. In this time of uncertainty, some producers have decided to release their content directly on OTT. It is within their rights to decide but we will not release those movies in our theatres. 

As of now, we are expecting cinemas to open without any restrictions very soon. Once that happens, there will be a huge number of films awaiting release with the big-ticket films claiming the dates of their choice, and there are makers who would wait because they have made films with a theatrical release in mind.

A few small or mid-budget films releasing on streaming services are not really going to impact the theatre business much. We would have lost on releasing a few good films with the new development, but it is not going to be easy to accommodate all the films in the limited window anyway. They have bankable stars but the subjects are unconventional. One is never sure whether they will really work. I understand there will be a rush of movies when the lockdown is lifted. The entire industry needs to stand by each other. Films releasing on OTT is the loss of opportunity. It is not an absolute loss, however. We hope filmmakers stick to theatre format. We were expecting them to stand by us because we are family.

I feel that the trend of releasing films on OTT platforms directly is a temporary phenomenon. I don’t see this going beyond the lockdown. While OTTs are a reality, big film producers will prefer a theatrical release before a digital one. The overall collection from theatrical releases also surpasses what is garnered by directly releasing movies on OTT platforms. Once people are able to go back to theatres, there would still be demand and all of us will be able to resume our business like before.”

Directed by Shoojit Sircar, Gulabo Sitabo will premiere on 12 June 2020 and will be available in 200 countries and territories worldwide. On the other hand, the release date of Shakuntala Devi is yet to be announced.

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