The countdown for the big Eid 2021 release, the Salman Khan starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai has begun and this time around, it’s going to be an altogether different ball game for the superstar. Stepping aside from the conventional norm of either an exclusive theatrical or an exclusive digital release, the action thriller has opted for a hybrid release model – cinemas, D2H and OTT platform. But the catch is, one needs to pay on digital and D2H to watch the film and the tickets per viewing are at Rs 249.
The film is looking to premiere on ZeePlex in a pay per view model with the same extending further for even the television screen, with premiere on showcase world of players like TataSky, Dish TV, Airtel and many more. The makers are also giving one-time free screening of the film to the fresh subscribers i.e. the ones who buy the annual premium subscription of Zee 5. According to our inside sources, a special offer is being chalked out for existing costumers of the platform too. Basically, the following are the modes of watching Radhe in digital world:
Pay Per View on Zee Plex at Rs 249
Pay Per View on TV network providers like TataSky, Dish TV, Airtel
One time free viewing for new Zee 5 subscribers using an exclusive promo code
Exclusively in cinema halls in the overseas market
In select cinema halls in India, wherever the theatres open up
A special offer in the works for existing subscribers of the platform
Apart from the six different modes of watching the film on May 13, we hear, Salman Khan and his studio partner, Zee, are open to give the films to exhibitors of India as and when the markets open up. For example, if Mumbai belt opens on June 1, the exhibitors in Mumbai can screen the film at their property from June 1. Likewise, if Bihar opens up on June 15, the exhibitors can screen Radhe as the opening film at their property. However, this platform release plan is subject to demand from the exhibitors in all territories.
We also hear, the film will see a premiere on Zee 5 maintaining a four-to-six-week window from the hybrid release on May 13, earlier than the usual norm of 8 weeks. That’s not all, the makers are also expecting big returns from the satellite world and the premiere on various satellite channels will take place a couple of months after the free conventional premiere on Zee 5. This brings us to the question, what’s the recovery model like for the studio, who has acquired the film for approximately Rs 220 crore. In an ideal non-covid world, this was a very reasonable deal for the film. But in Covid times, with practically no theatrical release in domestic market, we have to put a value to different rights of Radhe, for recovery, taking the market value of Salman in account. The satellite and digital rights for Salman in pre-covid world (maintaining the requisite window between theatrical and other mediums) on an average fetch an aggregate figure of Rs 135 crore (85 for digital+ 50 for satellite), with an addition of Rs 20 crore from the music rights.
The digital value of Radhe may be higher by another Rs 15 - 20 crore, since the conventional OTT premiere (unlimited free screenings for all subscribers) will take place faster than the usual window of 8 weeks. It’s a fairly reasonable deal as they are left with Rs 45 - 50 crore to recover from the pay per view model as also the release in overseas belt alongside select theatres in India, and this should achievable for the film. If the release abroad is on as many screens as we expect, a share in the range of Rs 20 crore is expected, leaving another 25 crores approx. to recover from the spike in subscribers as also the ZeePlex and Pay Per View on Television mode.
Now the million-dollar question is, what would have been Radhe’s recovery model with a direct to digital premiere? Well, though hypothetical, the digital value would have been around Rs 170 crore, 2x the pre-covid digital value of the film, whereas satellite would have stayed the same at Rs 50 crore. The overall recovery for Salman Khan, as a producer would have been around Rs 240 crore, as compared to the outright revenue of Rs 220 crore now for a hybrid release model. The reduced revenue aside, the risk factor in case of a direct to digital premiere of Radhe would have been zero, as compared to the risk of Rs 50 crore at present due to the hybrid release model. It’s a rather bold decision to bear the risk (for Salman as well as the Studio) and all eyes are on this model of release, as a success here would result in many Bollywood films following the norm of hybrid release.
While we are not sure, if the producers will release the viewership data and collections of the film on digital platform, we hope they do, as transparency in the digital data can also bring about a revolution in terming something a success on the digital world. But well, that aside, the countdown for the arrival of Most Wanted Bhai has begun!