Recently, Amazon Prime Video announced the global premiere of Shoojit Sircar’s quirky drama Gulabo Sitabo on June 12. The film features Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana. Following this, the multiplex chain INOX expressed its displeasure and disappointment over the move of releasing movies directly on OTT platforms. Now, The Producers Guild of India has hit back at sections of the exhibitors who aren’t very happy with the digital release.
Yesterday, INOX issued a statement in which they slammed Shoojit Sircar’s decision to release his movie directly on OTT. They also urged other producers not to follow this trend and stay with the old pattern. Now, The Producers Guild of India issued a statement in which they are justifying it. Also, they mentioned that it’s their need to stay in business. They also said that this is a time for the entire film industry to come together. They even said that INOX’s statement was abrasive.
In a statement issued by The Producers Guild of India, they wrote – “We are in unprecedented times, facing one of the “greatest public health and economic emergencies of our lifetimes”. “This is a time for the entire film industry to come together with empathy and support for the difficult predicament that each of our constituents finds themselves in – from producers, distributors, exhibitors, daily wage earners and technicians, to the thousands of people whose lives and livelihoods are in some way dependent on our industry. Hence at a time like this, it is disappointing to see abrasive and unconstructive messaging from some of our colleagues in the exhibition sector.
Statements that call for ”retributive measures” against producers who decide to take their movies direct to OTT platforms – especially at a time when cinemas are unfortunately closed for the foreseeable future – do not lend themselves to a constructive or collaborative dialogue on the way forward for the industry.”
The statement further read – “The production sector (just like the exhibition sector) is suffering “hundreds of crores of losses on a daily basis – – Elaborate and expensive sets erected for under-production films have had to be taken down due to no date in sight for shoots to resume, with the sunk cost of the set and studio rentals to be borne completely by producers – as insurers refuse to cover the cost. Shoot schedules have had to be abruptly cancelled due to the lockdown, with huge cancellation charges being borne completely by the producer – again with no support from insurers.”
“Interest costs are mounting on amounts raised to fund films, with producers having to bear this additional burden with no date in sight for cinemas to re-open; in fact with the knowledge that cinemas may be one of the last sectors of the service sector likely to be given permission to re-open. Re-opening of cinemas is bound to be staggered across the country, with each State government rightly making its own decision on the appropriate time to re-open cinemas in their State, depending on the intensity of the outbreak there. Producers of Hindi movies will have to wait for cinemas across the entire country to re-open, as the economics of the business requires an All India release. For cinemas to be open across the entire country, it is clear we are some time away,” the statement continues.
They conclude the statement by saying – “The production fraternity would like to work collaboratively with the exhibition sector to ensure that once cinemas do reopen across the country, we do all we can to bring audiences back in large numbers to experience our movies in the way they were always meant to be enjoyed – at the theatres”.
It would be interesting to see how the multiplex chains will react when other Bollywood films make their way directly to the digital platforms.