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Netflix film premieres in US theatres, will India mirror such a move?

Director Zack Snyder’s film Army of the Dead, which is a Netflix product, first released in theatres and week later in Netflix.

While globally experts are both criticising as well as appreciating Netflix’s move, the question for the Indian market is whether exhibitors here will mirror such a move?

A digital product releasing in theatres and streaming on OTT a week later will see a lot of resistance from national multiplex chains.

Top multiplex operators like PVR and INOX have always held their ground on maintaining the exclusive theatrical window.

In a recent interview with Moneycontrol, INOX CEO Alok Tandon said that a film’s theatrical run would contribute 60-70 percent to a film’s overall revenue.

“It is in the creator’s interest that the window is always there because a good theatrical run let’s creators demand higher value from subsequent platforms. World over the window is there and I think it will continue. These are abnormal times. These are just aberrations,” Tandon said.

This clearly signals that exhibitors here would not accept a digital product that is not respecting the theatrical window.

However, the issue is content. While there are around 20-25 movies which are ready for release in theatres whenever they are allowed to reopen, the challenge is how long will it take producers and production companies to gain the confidence back in a theatrical release.

This was the scenario in 2020 especially with Bollywood releases after theatres reopened in October.

Bollywood did not collect any significant revenues in 2021. According to Shailesh Kapoor, CEO – Ormax Media, Hindi films collected around Rs 50 crore in 2021.

Globally, too, dearth of content is making multiplex chains opt for newer strategies like that of premiering Army of the Dead in theatres just a week before going on OTT.

The Netflix film minted $780,000 in its opening weekend in US theatres, mostly Cinemark auditoriums.

While theatres globally are experimenting, in India it looks difficult that theatres would give up the exclusive theatrical window.

In that case, things will get more challenging for theatres that have faced lockdown not once but twice. Money Control

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