- Both films have been co-produced by Reliance Entertainment
- These Reliance productions, along with Radhe, star of Salman Khan, have been adamant about going to theaters even when some other films opted for OTT releases.
A day after Disney + Hotstar, the Walt Disney-owned video streaming platform, announced the direct digital launch of seven Bollywood titles, theater owners have found some reason to rejoice. Akshay Kumar’s action thriller Sooryavanshi and sports drama ’83, starring Ranveer Singh, have confirmed theatrical releases for Diwali and Christmas this year respectively. Both films are co-produced by Reliance Entertainment.
It goes without saying that film exhibitors are more excited about the news.
“Exciting times ahead. Preparing to release Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi on Diwali and ’83 at Christmas on Kabir Khan, “PVR Cinemas tweeted.
The two Reliance productions, along with Radhe, starring Salman Khan and Coolie No.1 from Varun Dhawan, have been adamant about going to theaters first, even as several large and mid-sized movies opted for OTT releases. Trade experts have continually emphasized that the huge budgets for these films will be difficult to recover through a digital release. In a previous interview with Mint, Siddharth Jain, director of the INOX Group, had said that major releases will hit the screens for the third quarter of this financial year, and that the small films targeting digital platforms were aberrations.
Starting June 29, Disney + Hotstar won titles like Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India, Sadak 2, star of Alia Bhatt, Abhishek Bachchan’s crime drama The Big Bull, the thriller of romantic action Khuda Haafiz and the comedy thriller Lootcase. The VoD (video on demand) platform had announced the launch of Dil Bechara by Sushant Singh Rajput last week.
“It is very disappointing that filmmakers opt for the first digital route when we are only a few steps away from film premieres with the reopening of movie theaters across the country, taking all necessary precautions. They just need to have a little more faith and patience to keep content on big screens, that’s what it’s for, “said Mohan Umrotkar, CEO of Carnival Cinemas, in a statement.
Bollywood has ended its worst first six months of the year with losses of more than Rs 1 billion as theaters are closed for more than 100 days. The covid-19 pandemic has generated zero revenue for the first time for theater owners and has deprived the industry of plenty of large, medium and small-scale films that could have generated significant box office profits, especially during these summer months when schools are closed.