When Tamil film Master released in cinemas on Jan 13, the makers were highly appreciated by the trade and also the exhibitors nationwide. The Thalapathy Vijay & Vijay Sethupathi starrer took an earth-shattering start despite a 50% cap on the occupancies.
In a matter of a few days, Master crossed the 100 crores mark which was an unbelievable feat considering the ongoing pandemic. Since the film has done so well, it wasn’t wrong for exhibitors to expect more revenue from the film in the coming weeks.
However, Amazon Prime Video today announced that Master will be streaming on the OTT platform from Jan 29. Normally a theatrical release can’t release digitally unless it completes 2 months. But the Tamil biggie has made an exception by releasing on OTT in 16 days. And the surprising news is that the exhibitors weren’t aware of this.
Talking to Indian Express, Rakesh Gowthaman, owner of Vettri Theatres in Chennai said, “We were all shocked. We would have actually made profits in the third and fourth week, and now this OTT release will eat into our weekend crowds. We are about to take a big hit.”
It’s a rude shock for exhibitors also because when a film releases in cinemas, they settle for a lesser share compared to producers. This share increases if the film sustains in cinemas. However, in this case, the exhibitors haven’t left with that option.
“Some theatres have even agreed to 80-20 profit-sharing with the producers of Master. These terms were agreed as a goodwill gesture considering the fact that the makers waited for a year to release this film in cinemas,” added Rakesh.
President of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association, Tirupur Subramaniam also opened up about the situation and said, “We had no idea,” “I am trying to contact the producer. We’re planning to release a press statement today evening,” he added.
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