Here's Why Films Releasing Directly on OTT Platforms Unlikely to Affect the Traditional Box Office

Film business is expected to change once the humanity wins over the coronavirus pandemic. While stalled shoots have delayed a number of films, many of them are making their way directly to the OTT platforms.

In reference to the decision of the filmmakers to skip theatrical release and premiere them on a streaming platform directly, multiplex chains are expressing "extreme displeasure and disappointment" over the move.

However, film trade and business analyst are of the opinion that films directly releasing on OTT platforms wouldn't affect the box office much.

Here's why

If the film is a small-scale production, it wouldn’t affect the box office much due to the lesser audience pull. Whereas, big-budget films with popular names will have their reservations and they would like to wait out during the crisis than not giving their target audiences the desired cinema hall experience.

The analysts are of the opinion that it is in the interest of the stars that the theatre, as a medium, is kept alive. “Salman Khan or Akshay Kumar or Ajay Devgn or Rajinikanth or Ajith or Vijay, they won’t be half the stars in absence of the cinema hall euphoria,” says film trade analyst Akshaye Rathi.

The producers and exhibitors would also not want to disrupt the partnership chain that has existed over 100 years.

“The exhibition sector, which comprises both organised and unorganised sectors with multiplexes and single screens in metros and tier one and tier two towns, realise that they are nothing without the production sector and the latter knows they will collapse without the former,” says Rathi.

Rathi compares the surge in demand of films to release on OTT platforms to the time when buying satellite rights for a movie was a rage.

“In between 2008-12, satellite rights had seen a similar wave that OTT is seeing right now. TV channels were paying a great amount of money to buy a film’s satellite right. Later, they realised they are overpaying and aren’t able to make profits from it. This led to an unofficial and rational cartel, and again the revenue earnings for a film shifted back to the theatre. It is in the interest of producers to keep the exhibition sector rolling because as of today, box office makes for 65% of a film’s income.” Rathi says.

Meanwhile, following the announcement of the upcoming premiere of Shoojit Sircar's Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo, Amazon Prime Video today announced an additional six highly-anticipated Indian films that will be premiering directly on the streaming service.

Spanning five Indian languages, the direct-to-service line-up features Anu Menon's Shakuntala Devi with Vidya Balan in the lead, legal drama Ponmagal Vandhal starring Jyotika in addition to Keerthy Suresh starrer Penguin (Tamil and Telugu), Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam), Law (Kannada) and French Biryani (Kannada). The movies will premiere exclusively on Prime Video over the next three months and will be available in 200 countries and territories worldwide.

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