A big war seems to have erupted between producers and theatre owners over the decision of actor Suriya’s 2D Entertainment to release their film Ponmagal Vandhal, featuring actress Jyothika in the lead, directly on OTT platforms without a theatrical release.
The film, which has been directed by JJ Fredrick, was ready to hit screens in April when the lockdown due to the Corona virus was announced. The production house, having no other option, seems to have decided to release the film on Prime video in May, skipping the theatrical release.
The move makes sense for the production house, which sources say spent around four and a half crores on the film. Amazon Prime is ready to buy the film for nine crores. Suriya and his production house make a neat profit of almost four and a half crores by selling it to the OTT platform.
However, this move has riled theatre owners in the state, who feel let down.
In a video clip that was sent to mediapersons, Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association General Secretary R Panneerselvam said, “A news item that appeared in the media today sent shockwaves among theatre owners of the state. The report claimed that the Tamil film Ponmagal Vandal, featuring Jyothika in the lead, had been sold to OTT platforms and that the film would be released on OTT platforms before its release in theatres. We were both shocked and pained on getting to know this information. The general rule is that movies that have been made for release in theatres must be released in theatres first and only then on other platforms. However, violating this rule, this producer has chosen to give his film to OTT platforms. We, the theatre owners of this state, condemn this strongly.
“When we got in touch with the producer and urged him not to take such a step, he did not heed our request. If he continues to proceed with this deal, we,the theatre owners have decided that we will not release any films that is made by either his company or companies that are associated with him. We have told them that they can release all their films on just the OTT platforms. All our members from the Theatre Owners association are of the opinion that we do not require their films for our theatres.”
Sources say that theatre owners might be looking to hit Suriya where it is bound to hurt him the most if he goes ahead with this trendsetting move, which could lay the path for the destruction of the theatrical business.
If Suriya goes ahead with this move, his upcoming big budget film, Soorarai Potru, which has been directed by Sudha Kongura, might be in big trouble as then, theatre owners will refuse to screen that film. No OTT platform will be able to buy Soorarai Potru even at its production price because it will be way over their budget.
Now, it remains to be seen if Suriya will go ahead with this move and risk losing the fortunes of his big film, Soorarai Potru.