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Reliance Entertainment, which has steadfastly avoided the OTT premiere route for both its big-ticket movies, Sooryavanshi and 83, has once again postponed the two films. Both the films will now release in cinemas next year only.
While many producers have bitten the OTT bait during the lockdown period to liquidate their huge investments in films, Reliance has stood faithful to the cinema platform rather than succumbing to the temptation of changing its deals with the streaming platforms to confirm the premieres of its two star-cast films on them. Of course, besides the fact that Reliance has shown solidarity with the cinemas, there is also the point of the huge budgets of the two films and the probable inability of the OTT platforms to increase the price for premiere to cover the huge investments in those films. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that Reliance has waited for almost eight months for cinemas to reopen after the pandemic lockdown. In the hope that cinemas would reopen soon, the national multiplex chains had on 30th June, 2020 taken to social media to announce that Sooryavanshi would release in cinemas on Diwali, and 83, on Christmas. Since at that time, Reliance had neither denied nor confirmed the release schedules, it was assumed — and rightly so — that the release dates had the approval of the producers (Reliance Entertainment, Rohit Shetty, Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar in the case of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif starrer Sooryavanshi; Reliance Entertainment, Phantom Films, Kabir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Sajid Nadiadwala in the case of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer83).
Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that Reliance has waited for almost eight months for cinemas to reopen after the pandemic lockdown.
As time passed by and the reopening of cinemas kept getting postponed, it became increasingly clear that at least Sooryavanshi would not make it to the cinemas on Diwali. In fact, as far back as on 30th June, we had written that the announcement of the release dates as Diwali for Sooryavanshi, and Christmas for 83 meant absolutely nothing (https://filminformation.com/featured/sooryavanshi-on-diwali-83-on-christmas-but-is-that-really-news-30-june-2020/). The latest is that like Sooryavanshi, 83 has also been postponed once again. Yes, like Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi did not hit the cinema screens on Diwali, Kabir Khan’s cricket film, 83, will not make Christmas merry for the box-office.
As far back as on 30th June,
we had written that the announcement of the release dates as Diwali for SOORYAVANSHI, and Christmas for 83 meant absolutely nothing.
Both the multi-starrers have been postponed to next year. Since the reopening of cinemas has been delayed so much (cinemas in many states reopened on 15th October while cinemas in Maharashtra were permitted to reopen from 5th November, and cinemas in states like Rajasthan are yet to be granted permission to reopen) and also because cinemas have to operate at only 50% of their capacities, there is not enough time for producers, especially of big-budget films, to take a calculated decision whether or not to release their films.
In these circumstances, Reliance will try to catch the Republic Day week for at least one of the two films subject, of course, to people returning to cinemas in large numbers by then. According to Shibasish Sarkar, CEO of Reliance Entertainment, “We are definitely not releasing 83 on Christmas. Sooryavanshi had already been shifted to next year, and now, we have decided to move 83 also to 2021. If all goes well, both the films will come in the first quarter of the new year.” Since Reliance has waited for eight months for cinemas to restart, it is unlikely that it will now opt for the streaming option. As an industry know-all reasoned, “If the company wanted, it could have sold the premiere rights of both, Sooryavanshi and 83, to OTT platforms. Now that it has waited for so long, it won’t go that route as cinemas have finally reopened. It will make more sense for Reliance to now wait for the audiences to return to cinemas.”
Since Reliance has waited for eight months for cinemas to restart, it is unlikely that it
will now opt for the
It may be mentioned here that before the coronavirus lockdown, Sooryavanshi had been slated for release on 24th March, 2020 (Tuesday) while 83 was to release on 10th April.
Since there is no major release slated for the Christmas week now, it is possible that Aditya Chopra brings his Bunty Aur Babli 2 in that week. Of course, that will finally depend upon whether the public comes to cinemas in big numbers in the weeks leading up to the Christmas week. If people still fight shy of coming to cinemas, Chopra may not take the risk of bringing the Bunty Aur Babli sequel to the cinemas this year.