Indian films are now opting for OTT premieres instead of theatrical releases. Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer 'Gulabo Sitabo' was released across 200 countries and in 15 languages by Amazon Prime.
Friday releases in India are not happening in theatres, but on video streaming platforms amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
These direct to-digital releases have got everyone wondering if an over-the-top (OTT) premiere is as lucrative as a theatrical release. The answer lies in the quality of content the film is offering.
Take the case of Gulabo Sitabo. Film trade experts suggest that even a release in cinema halls would not have given Gulabo Sitabo more than Rs 60 crore of business at the box office.
In this case, the film's deal with Amazon Prime is just right as the OTT platform has bought the premiere rights of the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer for Rs 60-65 crore.
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This mean that the makers pocketed around Rs 30-35 crore, as the film's budget is approximately Rs 30 crore.
As for box office business, out of the Rs 30-35 crore profit, the makers would have had to share 50 percent with exhibitors.
Also, the estimated box office collection of Rs 60 crore for Gulabo Sitabo, despite having film stars like Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, may not be a low-revenue consideration especially when you see reviews on Twitter.
Word of mouth is the strongest way for a film to trend. However, Gulabo Sitabo has seen mixed reviews on social media.
Looking at all these aspects, it seems the decision taken by the makers of Gulabo Sitabo was correct. The discussion around its OTT premiere may have also given the film more mileage.
Plus, the film received a grand opening even internationally. The film released in 200 countries in 15 languages.
So, along with reportedly 17 million subscribers that Amazon Prime has in India, Gulabo Sitabo would get viewers from across the world.
Many more films are looking at direct OTT release as theatres show no signs of reopening in the near future.
More OTT releases on their way
It was recently announced that Janhvi Kapoor's Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl will skip release in theatres and will stream on Netflix.
Other movies looking at digital premieres are Lootcase, Big Bull, Dil Bechaara which are likely to release on Disney+ Hotstar.According to Karan Taurani, Vice President, Elara Capital, Disney+ Hotstar is likely to announce eight direct-to-digital releases which also include big budget ventures like Ajay Devgn-starrer Bhuj.