Safeel, the representative of the Fortune Cinema, the official distributor of Vijay starrer Master in Kerala told Manorama Online that the company was worried about the delay in the reopening of the theaters in the state.
The much anticipated big budget movie is slated to hit the screens on 13 January. He hopes that the government would adopt measures that would protect the theater owners in Kerala and hence lead to the reopening of the theaters.
“We have taken up the distribution of Master from Kasargod to Kochi. Meanwhile, Magic Frames would be distributing it from Alappuzha to Thiruvananthapuram. It was in January last year that we purchased the distribution rights of Master by paying a hefty amount as advance including the GST. Then, the releasing date was in April. However, the theaters soon closed down due to the pandemic and it’s since been ten months. Now that the government has allowed the opening of theaters, the owners are not in a position to reopen. The new release date of Master is 13 January. I hope that the government would consider the demands of the theater owners and would positively respond. The theaters are charged a fixed amount as electricity bill every month even if they are closed. It is difficult for the owners to pay this bill if movies aren’t exhibited. Besides, there are expenses for other maintenance works too. A solution must be formed to solve all these problems,” says Safeel.
Safeel says that superstar Vijay had stood with the theater owners to take the challenging decision that Master would be released only in the theaters no matter how much loss he would incur. He appreciates Vijay’s decision saying that the latter was bold enough while some of the super stars in Kerala had gone for OTT releases. “It is a fact that Amazon is ready to take the movie by offering a huge amount. The theater owners’ association has conveyed their gratitude to Vijay. When the Tamil Nadu government allowed admission to 100% seats in theaters, the central government had intervened to make it 50%. It indeed is a challenge. In Kerala, youth mostly go for the second show. That show has been cancelled. When the shows could be scheduled for 24 hours, starting from 1 am onwards in Tamil Nadu, in Kerala it is 12 hour duration from 9 am to 9 pm. All these are issues that are really concerning,” explains Safeel.
Safeel confirmed that they have been trying to sell tickets through reservation for the movie that is around three hours long. “Only three shows have been allowed in the malls. You will have to sell tickets through reservation if you need to make it four shows. Vijay’s Bigil had collected around Rs 30 crore from Kerala. He has such a huge fan base here. Vijay fans would be given tickets through their association. We are planning to release it by avoiding huge crowds in front of the theaters. The movie would be released by strictly adhering to the Covid-19 protocols. Many theater owners have paid us in advance, trusting us. We have put that money on hold. The producer and all of us hope that a favorable decision would be taken within Monday. We are proceeding with the poster distribution and other promotional events in the hope that problems would be amicably solved. Moreover, we wish for the wholehearted support of the public and the media too,” adds Safeel.