The public cinema experience in movie theaters is now under an existential threat like never before. The reason for this panic is the emergence of streaming platforms. At least that seems to be the general consensus right now. Pressure groups in states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have started protesting the practice of releasing films on digital platforms weeks after their first release, arguing that it would discourage people from going to cinemas.
“OTT isn’t a challenge for movies, but we actually turned it into a challenge. We’re talking about our movies showing in theaters, but you don’t necessarily have to. Because in a few weeks you can see it at home It. How do you want people to come to the theatre?” asked Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in an interview with Galatta Plus while promoting his latest film Laal Singh Chaddha. He also stressed the importance of giving the audience a clear choice. “Either you come to the cinema and watch the movie now, or wait six months to watch it on OTT.”
K Vijayakumar, chairman of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Union (FEUOK), agreed with Aamir. “Currently 42 days is the agreed length of time before the Kerala State Film Board releases a film on OTT. However, many people release their films on OTT platforms before the agreed time. And the film studio is unable to respond to this situation React. So we decided that if a movie is released on OTT before the agreed time, FEUOK will take action against the star and director of the movie,” he said.
FEUOK has announced that films from stars and directors who violate these conditions will no longer be shown in cinemas in Kerala. The association also asked studios to increase the OTT release window from 42 days to 56 days.
“We want to bring audiences back to theaters. Only if we can make sure that new movies don’t hit streaming platforms before 56 days, people will scramble to get into theaters,” Vijayakumar said.
Aamir has announced that he will not allow Laal Singh Chaddha to stream for six months after the theatrical release. While the production companies that back films such as Laal Singh Chaddha were built to meet such challenges, can the smaller production companies afford the extra revenue of denying digital rights sales for so many months?
“The economics of filmmaking should also change in every way. The producers I work with are used to good money from OTT players. It’s a very reassuring discovery that helped them during the production phase. If the producers Man knows very well that he doesn’t want the movie to be on OTT anytime soon, so he should be able to do so. Say, “I’m not going to be tempted by that kind of money, I’m going to use money from other sources to get this movie on OTT. Stop for six months. “For that, all the techs and actors should go hand in hand. We should also start taking a share of the profits. Start taking salaries later to support the cause. We need to start realigning the way we handle finances. We have to come together or else Nothing will change,” Naga Chaitanya, who played a key role in Laal Singh Chaddha, told indianexpress.com.
Naga Chaitanya is also one of those caught off-guard by the ongoing upheaval in movies. His previous film, “Thank You,” flopped at the box office on its opening weekend. However, he believes that was not the case in the pre-pandemic market.
“A few years ago, I had a good start and a good weekend run, maybe it will wear off over time. It’s not like that anymore. If the conversation isn’t good, you’ll see collectibles on Friday afternoons This is also because viewers are exposed to many different types of content through OTT,” Chaitanya said.
Affordable internet services and pocket OTT subscriptions have changed the way moviegoers behave. Streaming services have provided them with a treasure trove of hundreds of hours of quality entertainment, and they now have many different options than ever before. In this case, they are now more likely to make informed decisions when choosing movies in theaters.
Not that the majority of customers have decided to ditch theaters for streaming. Recent blockbusters like Vikram, RRR, and KGF: Chapter 2 show that people still enjoy the shared experience of watching a movie with a stranger in a movie theater, as long as they believe a movie is worth their time, money, and effort.
“Bimbsara and Sita Ramam have been doing really well in Telugu countries. When movies are good, people watch. You have enough options now. Without OTT, they can spend their time watching Instagram reels and YouTube videos. We now It’s not without reason that there are so many YouTube stars,” said S.R. Pabhu of Dream Warrior Pictures.
Unlike many others, Pabuk is not shocked or shaken by the changing face of the film. His business and creative decisions appear to be guided by the “fit or die” adage. Rather than fighting change and creating villains on OTT platforms, Prabhu wants to maximize profits in all aspects through innovation.
“For example, Amazon (Prime Video) allows people to rent and watch KGF 2 4 weeks after it hits theaters, and after two weeks they are open to all subscribers. We have to adapt to these changes,” Prabhu added.
Prabhu is happy with a four-week gap between theatrical and OTT releases considering the fact that the total annual output has doubled over the years. “Earlier there used to be 50-60 movies annually. Now, we see about 150 releases,” Prabhu remarked.
And he believes that any further extension of the OTT release window will only increase the threat of online piracy. “A movie needs to be in theaters for at least four weeks to cover the cost. A six-month vacation is too long,” said producer G. Dhananjayan.
However, Mumbai-based film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi advocates a comprehensive policy to protect the interests of all involved, including streaming services. He believes that strict measures to curb the threat of piracy will solve most of the industry’s problems.
“While there are good anti-piracy laws, they are poorly enforced. If you engage in piracy as a consumer or seller, you can pay huge fines or go to jail. And go to jail. People didn’t give up on piracy. Allow piracy, and the government loses money. When it’s not about piracy and people consume movies legally, 12% to 18% of the GST goes to every ticket sold Owned by the government,” Akshay said.
“If a movie hits OTT after 6 months, there’s a good chance people will be addicted to piracy and won’t even go to the cinema or watch it on OTT. They need to stop this leak of piracy and make sure that cinemas and OTT platforms get paid ,” he added.
Akshaye also advocates longer OTT windows to maximize profits for everyone in the company.