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No Big Movies for Direct OTT Release, Tamil Producers and Theatre Owners to Work on Guidelines After Lockdown

The OTT platforms v Theatres duel which threatened to explode huge in Tamil cinema has ‘been laid to relaxation’ for the time-being, with producers and theatre homeowners reportedly agreeing to work on tips and modalities after the lockdown ends.

The subject started a number of days in the past when Jyothika’s Ponmagal Vanthal introduced a direct launch on Amazon Prime Video as an alternative of theatres as a result of lockdown. The state’s theatre homeowners opposed the choice, even threatening to ‘ban’ movies of producers second Entertainment and Suriya, Jyothika’s husband.

Members of Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council (TFPC) issued a joint assertion supporting Suriya’s determination given the uncertainty across the reopening of theatres. Producers and theatre homeowners have for lengthy had points, particularly surrounding the dearth of screens for small price range movies. Producers contend {that a} movie is ‘their property’, whereas theatre homeowners say they too have rights to resolve which movies to display.

Since then, theatre homeowners and producers have come to a truce, with the latter agreeing to not give huge price range motion pictures like Vijay’s Master or Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru for direct OTT launch, at the same time as a number of different small to medium price range motion pictures have already signed up with on-line platforms.

“We had a chat with theatre owners, and we requested them saying let’s all sit together after the lockdown and come to an understanding on how to allow OTT without disturbing theatrical business model,” G Dhananjayan, producer and founder-dean of BOFTA Film Institute, tells Information18.

“Right now what has gone is gone, four-five films have already gone to OTT. But the industry will not be affected because of that because their contribution to the cinema industry will be miniscule. A film like Ponmagal Vathal would have collected at best Rs 8 to 10 crore in Tamil Nadu. In an industry of 2000 crore, 8 crore is nothing. It’s not like a film like Master or Soorarai Pottru are given for us to be panicking. Let’s not make a hue and cry about it. Theatre owners have understood it. Until then no premier films should be given to OTT. Big films like Master and Soorarai Potru have also agreed. The issue is completely laid to rest for the time being till we sit together,” he says.

The subject is not precisely new to Tamil cinema; in 2013, Kamal Haasan’s Viswaroopam had deliberate for a launch on DTH (Direct to Home) TVs, earlier than backtracking owing to opposition from theatre homeowners. The theatre homeowners’ competition is simple: ‘We carry within the huge cash, so we’ve the primary rights over huge movies’. It could be seen from the truth that even amid the present controversy, one other film referred to as RK Nagar releasing on Netflix straight with out a lot noise.

The theatre homeowners too perceive the issues of the small movies’ producers, however need the larger ones to point out some persistence and assist to theatres.

“From a producer’s perspective, the film is ready for release, but god only knows when the theatres will be open,” says Abirami Ramanathan, President of Chennai Theatre Owners Association and the Multiplex Association of Tamil Nadu. “The producer has made the film out of borrowed money, and has to keep paying interest. For how long can he keep paying interest? There are two doubts – when the theatres will open, and secondly, even after opening, how many will come immediately? People have now got into the practise of watching films in OTT. There will also be fear of the virus for a long time. It’s also costlier to go to theatres; a family pays Rs 2000 to watch a film in a theatre. You can subscribe to all the OTT platforms for Rs 1000 a month, and can also watch movies at your own comfort. So producers have no other choice go than to go to OTT now.”

“Of course as a theatre proprietor, I will likely be egocentric. I do not need my product to go away someplace. If I’m open and operating at present and the producer goes to OTT, I’ve each proper to assert it. Now, I do not know when I’ll open, so how can I cease him from going some place else?

“In precept, we’re opposing. It’s our proper that movies shouldn’t go wherever else. How are colossal productions being made? Because the cash is given by us. Only theatres can draw Rs 100-150 crores inside every week or 10 days. The value of manufacturing has gone up so excessive solely as a result of theatres can accumulate it. There will likely be no OTT platform prepared to pay 40 crore or 100 crore for each movie. Maybe they are going to purchase one huge movie and use it as a flagship to get extra members, however they can not hold doing it.

“Can’t you look forward to two-three months? I’ve each proper to argue. Some artists are getting Rs 50 to 70 crore as wage. Where is that this cash coming from? From the theatres. It’s comprehensible in the event you’re extraordinary, small producers. But huge or rich producers going to OTT, cannot they wait? If there is no such thing as a OTT, you don’t have any choice to attend for us, proper? As a theatre proprietor, I really feel what they do is incorrect. They are saying they do not know how lengthy they will wait.

“I said – if you’re engaged to a girl and they want the marriage after one year, can you argue saying you can’t wait and go to another girl? Similarly, this theatre is waiting for you. Of course, OTT does not have so much money to buy all movies. Even if it’s a very big company, they can’t buy everything. In Tamil Nadu alone, 170 films are being censored every year.”

Ramanathan factors out that the state of affairs of theatre homeowners is changing into more and more unhealthy, explaining that upkeep is a troublesome process even when closed.

“Whether theatres are open or not, you have to keep maintaining it. A big theatre in Chennai opened their auditorium after a month and saw that it was entirely damaged by rats. Apart from all this, we’ll have to pay them minimum electricity bill,” he says. “Theatre owners’ situation is very bad, all of them are paying out of their pockets to maintain staff. It’s very difficult to get trained staff; for example, a guy who checks tickets and sends people in, has to send in 500 people within 10 minutes. It’s practise and training, not that easy. We can’t afford to lose staff.”

Urging producers to be affected person, Ramanathan expects theatres to reopen by September 1 newest. He understands concern of the virus will persist for longer and hamper their enterprise, however counts on ‘expertise’ of watching motion pictures in theatres to revive the trade. “I expect theatres across all zones to open by September 1 latest. So theatre owners have every right to say please keep it (movies) for us, consider us. You’re there because of us, please don’t leave us.”

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