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What if Bollywood goes the Hollywood way — movies available at home just 17 days after theatrical launch?

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Hollywood is wanting at altering the dynamic of the film enterprise. In the newest growth, US theatre chain AMC has signed a cope with Universal Pictures, which states that their movies will be made available on Premium Video-on-Demand (PVoD) after minimal 17 days of theatrical launch!

This lowered window has definitely led to diverse reactions from totally different stakeholders.

Explaining what this transfer actually means, Reliance Entertainment CEO Shibashish Sarkar says, “The 90% revenue comes in the first three weeks, so whoever wants to have the big screen experience may have that. And also, it’s not subscription VOD, like the OTT platforms in India. In this, you have to buy that particular film, and pay for that one only. You can’t watch anything else,” he says.

He feels that this may occasionally have a long-term affect on the theatre-going viewers’s thoughts set. “After three weeks, you can see a film at a particular price, at home. It will reduce audience’s going to theatres. My personal belief is that both platforms will flourish. Also, PVoD will be more expensive than a cinema ticket. Overall in the current situation, people are not sure when they will come to theatres, producers are not able to make films as the earlier ones have not released. It will be a positive situation once they start releasing,” says Sarkar. 

Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, feels that even if PVoD is pricier, individuals may choose that. “You can have 20 people at home through PVoD, it’s not per person, but per viewing. The erosion into theatrical business can be pretty massive, details are awaited,” he says.

WHAT IF IT HAPPENS IN INDIA?

The theatre enterprise has been impacted massively as they’ve been shut for 4 months now in India. Since income sharing can also be part of the AMC- Universal deal, it’d just give a brand new lease of life to theatres. But director Anurag Basu doesn’t see this occurring in India anytime quickly.

“All the things that start from US, take eight-10 years to come to India, I am generalising, like DVD, TV or digital. When DVDs came, everybody thought theatres will get affected, as they are cheap. Theatres have never died. It’s a different experience altogether, and can’t be equal to watching a film on a laptop. This is a temporary crisis, once everything is over, people will flock to theatres. These are temporary arrangements, I don’t think it will be permanent. It won’t happen in India unless OTT platforms started owning theatres,” tells us the Barfi! (2013) director.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios too feels it’s unlikely to come back to India. “I don’t think theatres would be open to doing something like this. It’s also important to which film title this applies. Big titles like Sooryavanshi are still not there on streaming platforms. I don’t think it will immediately change things across the world. What happens in Hollywood, it gradually takes effect over a period of time,” he tells us. 

While the Indian viewers isn’t precisely too aware of what PVoD actually means, all of us have been uncovered to it in the type of pay-per-view movies on our DTH platforms. Sarkar says he would look ahead to this type of mannequin again home, “I am looking forward if the opportunity crops up in India. We don’t have a specific pay per view, it’s niche. The only concept we know is our DTH providers, where we pay say Rs 100 to watch a film. It’s very much possible. We will all be keen to see a situation open up in India. There will be resistance from the cinema chain’s perspective.”

IMPACT ON THEATRES

Rathi feels the repercussions of such a mannequin the place movies are available in the consolation of your home, (even if the title continues to be taking part in in theatres) “can’t be calculated”. He tells us, “By the looks of it, it looks like a deal which will drastically impact theatres. It’s tough to imagine why AMC would have done this. I don’t know how will consumption play out, and whether through those revenues (which the theatre chain will get as part of revenue sharing) theatres will be able to cover running expenses.”

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh is bound that this information will need to have despatched ‘shockwaves’ throughout the US movie business. “Now when films are releasing directly on OTT platforms instead of theatres due to lockdown, it has raised a lot of eyebrows in India. There was a big halla as far as the industry is concerned, with the biggest of stars coming in. Till now there has been a clear understanding between theatrical and satellite/ OTT viewing. If it’s come down to 17 days, God save the theatres. The Amercian model is very different. I am sure even there it must have raised eyebrows, in the exhibition sector specially,” he says.

He goes on to query what occurs to the movies not doing effectively. “Event films can continue running, what would happen to unsuccessful films? When you hear 17 days, you are in a shock,” he indicators off.

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