The Salman Khan starrer Radhe is set to release this week but the timing of release could not be any worse. The film is a simultaneous theatrical and PVOD (Premium Video On Demand) but there will be no theatrical release in India so it becomes a PVOD play as far as the domestic market is concerned. A few days back it did look like the film may release in some cinemas of Andhra Pradesh but a lockdown was expected in the state and the announcement came yesterday.
The PVOD culture is just not there in India and not much can be expected. India is a country where many dont even pay to upgrade their television services to HD so paying for a film for home viewing will be for a very small minority. Also the people who can activate a PVOD service through television will also know how to watch a ******* version of the same film on the same television which will be free and it does not take Einstein to figure out they will go with the latter.
The biggest PVOD release so far as far the Hindi film industry is concerned was Zero (2018) and this was post theatrical release and it garnered around 3 crore in sales. This was across the world and Shahrukh Khan has a huge following in Europe and Northern Africa and much of the revenue would probably be coming outside India where it may not have had a theatrical release. Recently there has been Khaali Peeli and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari which made 15 lakh and 50 lakh respectively. Radhe topping these numbers is a given but that hardly matters in the bigger picture.
The film will see an Overseas theatrical release but here the film is not really for the Overseas market and on top that same day PVOD release will mean a HD print available everywhere to download from torrents and the NRI community abroad like India also likes freebies. The UK market has seen no growth for years as loyalty cards get abused most by the Asian community with a one month fee letting you watch as many film films as you want for just that monthly fee. There is Eid to help in UAE and UK but in the final count not much can be expected due to the ******* print being available on release. A big Hindi film normally releases on 60-70 cinemas in UAE and Radhe could be a little more due to lack of content.
The business in Gulf will be curtailed as it will be mainly a UAE release and a market like Kuwait which contributes strongly especially for Salman Khan Eid films will see no release. Gulf and UK ae the best markets on Eid but the latter might struggle as the market will open next week so it will be post Eid release and awareness will be minimal as cinemas slowly open up again after being shut for almost five months. The Australian market is in good condition but a film like Radhe is not for that market which leaves UAE which will be expected to bring the bulk of the Overseas collections. Salman Khan is the biggest star here after Shahrukh Khan and there is the Eid factor though how this plays out this year is an unknown so all one can do is really hope for the best without any expectations.
The film is the third release which matters since the pandemic started after Laxmii and Coolie No1 and like those films it will face negativity and more here as the video makers try to make a few pennies and get extra views on the name of Salman Khan. Laxmii and Coolie No1 fetched good numbers on digital release (SVOD - Streaming Video On Demand)) but they had bigger platforms like Hotstar and Amazon and Zee5 does not have that reach. This will leave the wait for satellite to find out how the audience has found the film.
At the end of the day, Radhe is mainly a guinea pig to push the Zee platforms but one Radhe will not be enough to make it compete with the Hotstars and Amazons and more will be needed. For the makers they have got a big price and are in the money which you take in this situation. There will be adjustments on the original price but still it will be way above the production cost and just the profits for Salman Khan will be lesser.