The recent announcement of Kartik Aaryan’s Freddy and Vicky Kaushal’s Govinda Naam Mera ditching the theatrical route for OTT premiere has left the industry insiders perplexed, as they hope more projects backed by big names will follow them. In fact, it is also being believed that the makers are picking the digital space over the big screen as a safe option.
Apart from Freddy and Govinda Naam Mera, Sidharth Malhotra and Rashmika Mandanna starrer Mission Majnu and Rakul Preet Singh’s Chhatriwali is expected to go directly to the streaming space. This comes after most of the Bollywood films, including Thank God, Double XL, Phone Booth, Doctor G and Mili, failed to elicit expected response at the box office.
“There is a lack of confidence right now within the Indian fraternity because no one is getting the sense of what is actually playing and what will actually work. Coming to the box office and getting a validation needs a lot of muscle now… I think they feel that it is not worth the effort, and go to OTT space as it is a safer option when it comes to economics,” says trade expert and producer Girish Johar.
The recent OTT move by makers reflect that there is a sense of fear to go on box office seeping in, as they bet on OTT platforms to recover the cost of a project.
“It is a very calculative move by the makers. They are evaluating the costing and spending of the project to ascertain recovery amount, and then taking a call. If they feel that they will recover cost with an OTT deal, and box office pe they might tank, the makers pick the offer they have on the table. Because after release, if the film is a flop, the OTT and satellite deal also get affected,” says trade expert Atul Mohan.
However, trade expert Taran Adarsh is worried with the trend coming in, especially after waiting for the big screen revival for over two years. “I am unable to understand why the films are going on OTT when things have reopened. I think the biggest thing is that the makers feel these films are OTT friendly. But it is strange because these projects have big names attached,” he says.
Here, producer Ratan Jain feels it is nice that the makers are being realistic and opting for the OTT route, which will lessen the crowd waiting for release on the big screen.
“The makers are sitting down to figure out which movie will work in the theatre and which will not, and it is a good strategy,” says Joginder Tuteja, who feels another film of Akshay Kumar will also go for digital premiere soon.
Here, Mohan asserts that it is working in favour of the streaming platforms, as they are getting star power to pull in the subscribers. “OTT space also needs fresh content, and big names to attract eyeballs,” he says.