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Exclusive! FEUOK president on special considerations that made Dulquer’s Kurup theatre release possible

The big budget movie, which has Dulquer playing the role of infamous fugitive Sukumara Kurup, is slated for a November 12 worldwide theatrical release

Exclusive! FEUOK president on special considerations that made Dulquer’s Kurup theatre release possible
Dulquer Salmaan in Kurup
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 07.02 AM, Oct 25, 2021

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Theatres in Kerala reopened today, but the real litmus test for theatre exhibitors as well as the Malayalam film industry will be on November 12 when this year’s first big budget, crowd-puller Kurup, starring Dulquer Salmaan, will hit theatres. It’s not just the fans and the team behind the movie waiting for the film’s release now, but also the entire industry.

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) president K Vijayakumar talked about the special considerations that made the makers of Kurup agree to a theatrical release, just weeks after Kerala cinema halls opened.

“The makers of Kurup had almost finalised an OTT release deal. But each and every film exhibitor had requested Mammootty, Dulquer and the other co-producers for its theatrical release. They agreed to release the film in theatres after we accepted special terms and conditions. So, every theatre is giving the movie a lot of importance because we can approach other films only after Kurup proves that people are willing to come back to the theatres. So, we are planning to bring Kurup to theatres as a huge celebration,” he says.

Vijayakumar reveals that a 100% capacity, however, wasn’t part of the deal. “Right now, the government has allowed to only operate theatres at 50% occupancy and the producers of Kurup have agreed to release the film at this capacity. However, we will be trying for full capacity,” he says.

The major deal-clincher was theatre owners agreeing to screen the movie for a minimum of 14 days in at least 300 out of the total 710 screens across Kerala, says Vijayakumar. “There will be four shows daily and this will benefit the team as they can recover a good sum in this period,” he says.

Ask him for a ball-park figure of the revenue that can be collected with 50% capacity in a week if Kurup runs in a minimum of 300 screens and he says, “If the content is good, it should be able to collect a minimum of Rs 6Cr in distributor’s share.”

Another condition that aids the producers will be that their amount will be transferred immediately after the film’s screening in a theatre. “Previously, this used to take time because producers had to wait for invoices to be generated and other formalities. All this will be taken care of, after the fund is transferred in case of Kurup,” Vijayakumar explains.

The theatre owner and FEUOK official also says that according to their forecasts, theatre business in Kerala should pick up from November 4. “A lot of Diwali releases including Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe are lined up,” he says.

On whether these releases will only get a limited run in theatres with Kurup set to hit theatres on November 12, he explains, “Not necessarily. We have 710 screens and the theatres that don’t have an agreement with Kurup’s producers can play these movies after November 12 too,” he says. “We have other movies such as Kunchacko Boban’s Bheemante Vazhi and Asif Ali’s Ellaam Sheriyakum also slated to hit theatres a week later on November 19 and the next big release is Kaaval on November 25.”

Ask him if Kurup’s OTT streaming date has been advanced after its theatrical release as part of the special considerations and Vijayakumar explains, “The Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce has stipulated that movies can drop on streaming services only 42 days after its theatrical release. This applies to Kurup also.”

Meanwhile, FEFKA official and director B Unnikrishnan, who is also gearing up to release his Mohanlal-starrer Aaraattu in theatres, tells us, “Kurup’s release is crucial because people should come back to theatres. In Tamil Nadu, despite there being multiple soft openings, theatres got a shot in the arm after Sivakarthikeyan’s Doctor released. Similarly, Sudeep’s Kottigobba 3 was a game-changer in Kannada. So, when a much-anticipated, star-driven movie gets the kind of response that is expected, the industry will be back on wheels.”

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