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2018's OTT release ruined its chance of becoming the first ever Malayalam film to gross Rs 200 Cr: FEUOK president

FEUOK president K Vijayakumar said theatres in Kerala will stop playing 2018 with the second show on June 6

2018's OTT release ruined its chance of becoming the first ever Malayalam film to gross Rs 200 Cr: FEUOK president
Poster of 2018 and (R) K Vijayakumar
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 04.52 AM, Jun 06, 2023

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Tovino Thomas and Asif Ali’s disaster drama 2018 has already become the highest grossing Malayalam movie with a worldwide gross of Rs 175 Cr. The film is now gearing up for its OTT release on Sony LIV on June 7, which could hinder its chances to breach the Rs 200 Cr mark due to the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala’s (FEUOK) rule of not screening movies after they begin streaming online.

The Jude Anthany Joseph directorial has been a silver lining for Kerala film exhibitors this year, which has seen only three films – Romancham, Malikappuram and Pachuvum Atbutha Vilakkum – going on to become superhits in the state.

OTTplay approached FEUOK president K Vijayakumar to know if they have decided to give any leeway for the movie, considering the revenue it has brought in. “See, it is still running to packed houses to a lot of theatres. But the only leeway we would be showing is that we will be playing the movie in theatres till it releases on OTT. So, after the second show on June 6, we will stop playing it in theatres across Kerala,” he says.

Poster for 2018
Poster for 2018

Ask him how the movie has helped the film exhibitors, who had been complaining of heavy losses till the 2018’s release in May and he tells us, “More than making profits for us theatre owners, it helped clear dues and liabilities. However, its producer ruined its chance of earning Rs 200 crore at the box office as well as running for 100 days in theatres with its OTT release. Even actors, directors and producers would have benefited from that tag.”

The senior official also called for a change in the mindset of producers to sell movies’ OTT rights even before their theatrical release. “That change in attitude should happen. That is what is required for industry,” he says.

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Point out that only four out of the 100 movies that have released so far in Malayalam have gone on to become huge hits and OTT rights guarantee a secondary revenue channel for a lot of producers, and Vijayakumar explains, “Such producers can always prioritise OTT platforms. Why also depend on theatres? Cinema halls are not experimental tools. Producers and directors have all the rights and freedom to choose the platform of release to ensure profit for them, but they shouldn’t use theatres to maximise that. But movies that are made for theatres should play in theatres for as many days as possible.”

2018, based on the Kerala floods five years ago, will begin streaming on Sony LIV and OTTplay Premium from June 7 onwards in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada.

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