The biggest success parameter of a Bollywood movie has been its box office collection.
While reviews give the films a perspective, it’s the long queue at the ticket window that the producers want for validation. With movie getting direct release on OTT platforms, this quantifiable measure of a movie's success may cease to exist.
Film trade analyst Komal Nahta says that calculating a film’s collections will be difficult. "Even if the OTT platform release figures of the viewership, on either monthly basis or otherwise, the transparency is questionable. As a trade analyst, I had my own chain of representatives in about 200-250 cities in India where we would track box office collections and made predictions on that basis."
He adds, "These are the formative years of the marriage of films and OTT platforms. It's not a trend yet. We have to wait till Diwali to understand whether it’s going to be a norm or an exception."
Girish Johar says Box Office collections also provide 'Validation' to the cast and crew of a project. "On OTT's there's no validation, which is a big challenge. We don't have reviewers and public reviewing can't be the basis. Apart from money, actors, writers, directors, also work for a global validation, which is missing on digital."
Even though it's a producer's call, analysts believe many A-listers would want a theatrical release. It also holds for star directors. "People went to watch Student Of The Year even with a new cast, because it was a Karan Johar film. In turn, this stardom gets them the OTT deals, or big brand endorsements. Cinemas allows you to enjoy the experience of consuming content on a large scale for movies even with a low budget," says film trade analyst Akshaye Rathi.
Atul Mohan echoes the same sentiments and says, "The long queues, the first day first show, the whistles and the madness are the elements of fandom. Without them, the star system will be gone forever. If such clubs are like a barometer of the love or hatred towards the star and the film, without which discussions will also cease to exist."
Leave aside the so called cinema-informed audience, will the usual movie goers be fine with not knowing a film’s box office performance before buying OTT subscriptions?
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