NEW DELHI :
A bunch of south Indian language films are ready to make their debut on video streaming platforms even though cinemas across the country have reopened. While Mohanlal’s mystery thriller Drishyam 2 will arrive on Amazon Prime Video, Dhanush’s Tamil film Jagame Thandiran has been acquired by Netflix according to a report by web portal LetsOTTGlobal.
The latest announcements come on the heels of several Bollywood filmmakers continuing to look at direct-to-digital releases for their movies bypassing theatrical showcasing months after cinemas across the country have reopened. While Parineeti Chopra-starrer The Girl On The Train has just announced a release on Netflix, John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi’s Mumbai Saga has been sold to Amazon Prime Video according to a report by movie website Bollywood Hungama. Akshay Kumar’s Bell Bottom and Kartik Aaryan’s Dhamaka are also eyeing OTT (over-the-top) releases.
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Trade analysts and entertainment industry experts say the option to go digital has emerged stronger than ever before during the pandemic and is unlikely to go away any time soon, even as theatre owners make pleas for filmmakers to line up movies and help recovery.
“Medium and small-budget films will always have that option now to go directly to a streaming platform whereas the big films that need theatrical validation to fully recoup their investments will obviously not see OTT as a viable strategy,” film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar said.
The economics make sense. In case of several movies, producers may not see sense in spending an additional ₹8-10 crore for publicity and advertising on a film made at a budget of ₹15 crore when a streaming platform is ready to cough up around ₹20 crore with no distribution or marketing costs left to bear. It helps to keep the business cycle going when a production house has other bigger films in the pipeline that it has to fund,” a senior executive at a production house pointed out.
To be sure, unlike Bollywood, the south film industry had remained wary of OTT releases, several months into the pandemic. The film business in the south is still driven entirely by top male stars who look at wide theatrical showcasing as a validation of their stardom.