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Home / Bollywood / Producers’ Guild responds to INOX criticising direct-to-OTT film releases: ‘Abrasive and unconstructive messaging’

Producers’ Guild responds to INOX criticising direct-to-OTT film releases: ‘Abrasive and unconstructive messaging’

The Producers Guild of India has responded to statements by major theatre chains against the release of films directly on streaming platforms.

bollywood Updated: May 15, 2020, 11:28 IST
HT Entertainment Desk
HT Entertainment Desk
Hindustan Times
Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi is one of the many films headed straight for a digital release.
Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi is one of the many films headed straight for a digital release.

The Producers Guild of India has responded to major theatre chains’ recent comments against the release of films directly on streaming platforms. “It is disappointing to see abrasive and unconstructive messaging from some of our colleagues in the exhibition sector,” the guild noted.

On Friday, INOX expressed dissatisfaction at the news that films will be going directly to OTT, skipping a theatrical release entirely. “INOX would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement made by a production house today, to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run. The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting,” the statement read.

 

The Producers Guild offered several reasons as to why releasing films directly on streaming is a more financially viable option. Expensive sets are being taken down, it said. Interest costs are mounting, cinemas will likely open in a staggered manner, the overseas theatrical market remains uncertain, there will be a backlog of releases as and when theatres resume operations, and attendance will be dented. “Given this combination of factors, producers who have already invested heavily in their films with theatrical revenue assumptions that are no longer feasible will seek out all avenues available to recover their investment and stay in business,” the guild stated.

 

In addition to INOX, PVR also expressed disagreement with this release model. “We are disappointed with Gulabo Sitabo’s decision to go straight to a streaming platform. We were hoping that the producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopened,” Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures told HuffPost.

Also read: Amazon announces 5 new direct-to-streaming releases, starring Jyothika, Keerthy Suresh

On Friday, six Indian films were announced to be heading straight for a digital release. Anu Menon’s Shakuntala Devi with Vidya Balan, legal drama Ponmagal Vandhal starring Jyothika, Keerthy Suresh-starrer Penguin (Tamil and Telugu), Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam), Law (Kannada) and French Biryani (Kannada) are all heading to Amazon, while Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Ghoomketu will be released on Zee5. On Thursday, Gulabo Sitabo became the first major film to head directly to OTT.

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