3 min read.Updated: 21 Apr 2021, 03:08 PM ISTLata Jha
The film, co-starring Disha Patani and Jackie Shroff, is the first big-ticket Indian movie to adopt a hybrid release model that multiplexes have opposed for months
NEW DELHI :
New Delhi: Salman Khan-starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai will arrive in movie theatres and on over-the-top streaming platforms the same day; it is a clear testament to the pressure on film-makers to release ready projects with interest costs mounting and uncertainty looming on the future of cinemas. The film, co-starring Disha Patani and Jackie Shroff, is the first big-ticket Indian movie to adopt a hybrid release model that multiplexes have opposed for months.
Zee Studios, also theatrical distributors of the film, will screen it in cinemas that are functional worldwide on 13 May for Eid, while premiering it simultaneously on their video streaming platform ZEE5 and pay-per-view service ZEEPlex. Radhe will arrive in theatres in all Indian states where they are operational, besides 40 countries across international territories such as the West Asia, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe and the UK, the company said.
ZeePlex, a TVoD (transaction video-on-demand) service, will make Khan’s movie available on DTH operators such as Dish, D2H, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV; a move that Zee, in a statement, said, will give the audience multiple options to watch the film as per their comfort and convenience.
Salman Khan’s films are thorough entertainers which appeal to audience across demographical groups, which, in turn ensures these movies are among the most watched ones in recent times. However, the constantly evolving covid situation in the country may only allow limited theatrical attendance, leaving many die-hard fans of Khan unaddressed, the statement added.
“The ongoing pandemic forced us to innovate, and we are proud to be the first to embark upon this new distribution strategy. While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we realized we’d be doing a disservice to Salman’s fans nationwide if we aren’t able to release theatrically in all Indian states," Shariq Patel, chief business officer, Zee Studios said in a statement, and added that the company sensed the need for a pay-per-view solution along with theatres, which gives consumers flexibility and convenience of viewing the film.
A Salman Khan Films’ spokesperson said it is imperative to think of out-of-the-box solutions for cinema as an industry during the current pandemic situation. “We will support theatre owners by releasing the film in as many theatres as we can, keeping in line with the rules and protocols laid down by the government. But, considering the guidelines and safety measures, we also need to devise ways to ensure that the film reaches all of our audience. We don't want to deny the audience the choice of entertainment in the comfort of their homes during these times," the person added in a statement.
To be sure, Zee sets a unique precedent for the Indian movie business with Radhe, one that has already been adopted by Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros for films such as Wonder Woman 1984 in the past. Industry and trade experts have long said strategies such as these could relegate theatricals to a secondary viewing medium and make recovery from the covid-19 pandemic impossible. Unsurprisingly, cinemas, especially multiplexes, have opposed such distribution models vehemently.
“By virtue of its construct, the distribution system followed in the industry till the pre-covid times across the globe fetches maximum revenues and gains for every stakeholder in the industry, and there is no reason it would not do the same now. Studios which have waited for the theatrical run have reaped the benefit of this windowing pattern," Rajender Singh Jyala, chief programming officer – INOX Leisure Ltd had said in an earlier interview to Mint when asked about the possibility of simultaneous release of films in theatres and online.