Expect a Spielberg-Netflix kinda war in Bollywood after Reliance Jio’s ‘first day, first show’

  • Jio's plan to showcase new film releases on the same day will Big Bollywood producers, in addition to movie theatres.
  • According to experts, it could kickstart a war between Big Bollywood producers who might resist the change.
  • As producers spend ₹30 crores on production which does not include promotions and other costs, they expect returns to the tune of ₹50 crores over the weekend.


On August 15 tomorrow, two big budget movies are releasing—Mission Mangal and Batla House. On an average, Mission Mangal has 14 shows in each theatre, while Batla House has it in 12.


Akshay Kumar, the protagonist of Mission Mangal claimed that the actual Mars mission by ISRO had a budget of ₹450 crore which is lower than ₹500 crore budget of his Robot 2.0 movie.


This is how much Big Bollywood producers bet on their big budget movies. And, it is the first weekend collections are extremely key as the days of even a superhit movie running in the theatres for a month are long gone.


Now, Reliance Jio is taking away this ‘premium’ too with its ‘First Day First Show’ plan. “The release of a big budget movie is an event which is done on a wide canvas. They will suffer the most while it could be good news for smaller films which can make money by selling digital rights. There could be a standoff,” Bharati Dubey, a film critic told Business Insider India.


This, according to Dubey could kickstart a war between Big Bollywood producers who might resist the change. Unlike in Hollywood where Steven Spielberg tried to bar Netflix from entering its original movies for Oscar awards, there has been no animosity between OTT platforms and movie producers here, so far.


In fact, Amazon Prime Video is known for bringing many regional films onto its platform within a month of the release. A Telugu movie called Rangasthalam released in 2018, ran for 50 days in theatres even though it was streaming on the site.


But not all movies might be just as lucky. When producers spend ₹30 crores on production which does not include promotions and other costs, they expect returns to the tune of ₹50 crores over the weekend. This is necessary for them to reach the ₹100 crore target in its short lifetime. Few producers can take the chance.


Small and independent movies like Tumbadd which was a sleeper hit, have little to lose in terms of box office collections. And platforms like Jio etc will the makers reach a wider audience that may not go to the theatres to watch them.


However, the big-budget blockbusters need people to throng to the theatres on the opening weekend to recover their investment.


Parallel lines cross


All was fine until movies had the first weekend premium. In fact, one of India’s successful directors Rohit Shetty said at FICCI Frames this February that the movie industry could co-exist with OTT platforms.


“We had this debate even when VHS (tape player) and television came in and when movies were showcases within a few months. I think films and video streaming services like Zee5, Netflix and Hotstar are parallel worlds. Film theatres will not shut down because of them,” Shetty had said


But Mukesh Ambani’s plan might change Shetty’s perception. He is offering this service not just as a part of a movie plan, but for those who opt for his premium Jio Fibre broadband service. It means that customers who enjoy high speed connections might get a new movie right onto their screens, without even asking.


And that will kill the already dying shelf life of expensive movies made for the ‘big screen’.



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