'Why should 'Marakkar' have a digital release?' Film exhibitors' body regrets move

If Marakkar goes to OTT, then distributors would cease to exist in Kerala, says Vijayakumar

The Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) is apparently disappointed as the makers of the big-budget movie Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, is considering an OTT release despite an earlier plan for a conventional theatrical show.

"I don't understand why the producers of the movie who were ready to release the movie during the Onam season last year, despite unfavorable conditions, were making such a move now,"  FEUOK president Vijayakumar remarked.

In an interview with Manorama Online, Vijayakumar said that the association hopes that the movie would be released in theatres.

Will Marakkar go for an OTT release?

The organization hopes that Marakkar would be released in theatres. The makers had agreed to have a theatrical release  two years ago by taking a decent deposit from all the members. It is regrettable that they have decided to go for an OTT release now. It is likely that the OTT platform might have offered a huge amount of money.

Marakkar crew on the sets of the movie

Cinema is a business where not just money is involved. Everyone is eagerly waiting for Marakkar to be released in theatres. None of them would have survived without the existence of theatres. The audience would forget the faces of the actors if their movies do not make it to the theatres for two years. Someone else would then take their place. So, no one should forget one's past. No matter how talented an artist is, he becomes a superstar only with the applauds and encouragement that he receives from the theatres.

I wonder whether theatres are forgotten with the advent of OTT platforms. When the filming of Marakkar began, no one had even considered an option like OTT. So, I cannot agree with the opinion that the movie wouldn’t be profitable if it is exhibited in theatres. The audience in Kerala, especially the fans of the actors, wishes that Marakkar shouldn’t have an OTT release. However, we cannot do anything if the makers decide that the audience should watch the movie that was made to be shown on a big canvas on their mobile screens.

You said that the makers were ready to release the movies even during unfavourable times?

They had promised to exhibit the movie, last year during the Onam season when the theatres could function with 50% seating capacity. The association had agreed to make all the arrangements to support the movie. The situation, last year, was worse than what we have now. However, the producer was ready to release the movie then. The (Covid) situation has improved a lot now. But, the producer says it wouldn’t work out now. Do you think the stars in other languages do not have demand from OTT companies? Actors like Allu Arjun, Vijay, Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi are sought-after by OTT firms;  however, they do not give their movies for OTT release as they are grateful to the theatres and the audience too.

The makers say that the theatre owners had refused to sign the agreement to exhibit Marakkar. Is it so?

Producer Antony Perumbavoor said that we had agreed to give him only 80 theatres to exhibit Marakkar. In the discussion, we had concluded the number of theatres at 80, but soon we realised that the movie cannot be released for Onam. We had stopped signing agreements three weeks prior to that. Else, all the theatre owners would have agreed to give him slots. It is quite childish that he is abandoning theatres now citing this reason. All the theatres were ready to exhibit Marakkar. However, the pandemic situation worsened and the theatres couldn’t be opened. That is why we couldn’t see through the agreement.

Will Marakkar be profitable if it is released now?

The theatre owners cannot really predict which movie would make profits. It is the audience who decides that. You could make profits if the movie is good; else it would be in losses. It is the makers who should say whether a movie could earn back at least the expenses. If they are not confident, then there is no point in exhibiting the movie in theatres. Many producers and distributors disagree with some people making movies only for the OTT. If this movie goes to OTT, then distributors would cease to exist in Kerala. If the producer gives the movie to OTT, then there is no need for distributors.

Are the theatres ready to exhibit movies?

All arrangements have been made to resume screening, by strictly following the guidelines issued by the government.  Movies would be screened from October 27 onwards. No Time to Die, Venom 2, and a Chinese film would be the first movies to be released. Malayalam movies like Mission C and Star would be released on Friday. Diwali releases would begin from 4 November onwards. We hope that the theatres would become active again when Dulquer Salman’s Kurup releases on 12 November. People too have become bored sitting at home. I think that the audience would be happy to return to the cinema halls to enjoy movies on the big screen. The Covid crisis too has subsided. Besides, most people are vaccinated. So, we really hope that the audience would come to the theatres and give a grand welcome to these movies.

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