Digital release of 'Gulabo Sitabo' makes multiplex chain INOX cry foul

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: May 15, 2020, 08:41 AM(IST)

Not wanting to wait till the lockdown is lifted, makers have decided to release 'Gulabo Sitabo' on OTT Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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In an apparent reference to the decision of 'Gulabo Sitabo', multiplex INOX on Thursday expressed its displeasure in a statement.

The floodgates have opened. With Shoojit Sircar announcing the direct digital release of 'Gulabo Sitabo', most filmmakers would be lining up their summer releases on digital platforms this year owing to the nationwide pandemic.
And while, filmmakers are contemplating digital release, multiplex owners are crying foul and expressing 'disappointment' over the new move.

In an apparent reference to 'Gulabo Sitabo', multiplex INOX on Thursday expressed its displeasure in a statement.

Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, the film will debut on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.
Without naming the production house or the film, the theatre chain released a statement on Twitter, saying such a move was "disconcerting".

"INOX would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement made by a production house today, to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run.

In pics: Skipping a theatrical release, movies on their way to digital platforms

"The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting," the statement read.

INOX said cinemas and content creators have always been into "mutually beneficial partnerships" where one's action provided fillip to another's revenues.

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"In these troubled times, it is disturbing to see one of the partners not interested in continuing the mutually beneficial relationship, especially when the need of the hour is to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, and bring the film industry back to its vibrant best.

"Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair-weather friends rather than all-weather life-long partners," the statement further read.

The multiplex chain said it will now be "constrained to examine" its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures, in "dealing with such fair-weather friends".

"INOX would like to urge all content creators not to skip the theatrical run, and stay with the age old and established windowing pattern, which is in the best interests of all stakeholders in the value chain," the statement concluded.

Earlier this week, some members of the Eastern India Motion Pictures of India urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to stop producers from releasing films, primarily meant for theatres, on OTT platforms.

The statement by INOX is likely to encourage more multiplexes across the country to protest against the digital invasion.

In the coming weeks, more filmmakers are likely to announce the direct digital release of their films. On Friday morning, Vidya Balan took to Instagram to announce that her upcoming film 'Shakuntala Devi' will be now premiering directly on Amazon Prime Video. The release date is yet to be announced.

The lockdown due to the pandemic has delayed releases of several big ticket films like Akshay Kumar's 'Sooryavanshi', Ranveer Singh's '83' and Varun Dhawan's 'Coolie No 1' were some of the films that were scehduled for theatrical releases in the summer months cashing on the holiday season. But with govt hinting at phase 4 of lockdown, cinema halls are unlikely to open in the near future which leaves producers with only one option- to release films digitally.

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