The Covid 19 lock down is now 2 months old and there is a situation where many films are looking at a digital release which was expected if the lock down got prolonged. The smaller films can get out with fair profits and with no clarity as to when films will start to release the digital rights are a god saver. The exhibitors are against this but its more the situation rather than preferring digital for the initial release.
There are also films which are holding out for the theaters as the people involved believe there films deserve the big screen screen release. The films listed below are the ones where shooting was complete. The first group are the films waiting for the theaters and they are.
3. Coolie No 1
The above films are not set for a digital release at the moment but even here there will be have to be some clarity in the next month or two because there is a limit of waiting to see when they can reach the theatres as the costs build. At the moment there are tentative dates of early July when theatres will open up in US and Europe (some countries have opened) but India is just guess work. If these makers can get a rough idea when they can come it will ease the pressure.
The next film is basically a WHITE HORSE as it is in a different situation to all the other releases as all rights are held by a concern which monetizes on its own platforms.
4. Laxmi Bomb
This film has been acquired by Fox / Disney for around 150 crore for all rights leaving the producers with huge table profit. Now here Fox / Disney has a sister concern Hotstar which is the biggest OTT platform in India with around 80 lakh paid subscibers and that is almost double of Amazon Prime (figures pre lockdown). Here a digital release will be with Hotstar which will mean the recovery will not happen as you are not going to get extra subscribers to cover the huge costs of the film and television which will go to the other sister concern Star Gold which is hit badly with advertisemnet rates down 80-90% due to Covid 19.
A digital release means that digital and satellite are the only sources of revenue. There is music in the film but that will not go for much when there is hardly any spend on promoting the film. In normal times this film would never have a chance of being a digital release but Hotstar has lost IPL which is the biggest content on digital and need some big new content and Laxmi Bomb is big especially for digital. On top this is the only film that Hotstar has at the moment.
The film will be complete with post production soon and although a theatrical release would benefit Disney / Fox the pressure will be on as other digital giants are announcing new film content on their platforms and more will be announced in the coming time while there is little idea as to when cinemas will open. In the West credit is being given on paid platforms which are unable to provide enough content just to keep subscribers on board as they cancel their subscriptions but that is not the case in India and for a platform like Hotstar they have limited content as its all local and nothing from abroad like Amazon and Netflix.
The next list are generally small and mid budget films where some films have gone to digital while others will probably be announced in the time to come as the lockdown goes on..
5. Gulabo Sitabo (65-70 crore to Amazon Prime)
6. Shukuntala Devi (30 crore to Amazon Prime)
8. Gunjan Saxena
9. Khuda Hafiz
13. Roohi Afza