Planning to watch Lucifer in the theatre near you? If you watch movies on online streaming platforms and are planning to watch the Malayalam movie, which is considered as one of the highest grossing movies of all time, there is no need to spend those extra bucks on popcorn and Pepsi. The movie has already been released on online streaming platform Amazon Prime.
Watching your favourite TV programmes, news and movies on online media is a trend that has not only encompassed the younger generation in its boundaries. Older people, too, like to watch their favourite serials, news and even old movies that are no more aired on television channels on these apps installed on their mobiles. However, the trend of brand-new movies releasing on these apps is a topic that requires a bit of discussion as it can be considered as navigation into a next-generation change that will eventually set new standards for movie viewing.
Mohanlal-starrer Lucifer was released worldwide on March 28 and just when the media was abuzz with news of the movie grossing around `150 crore in worldwide box office in just two months, the makers have sold its digital rights to Amazon Prime. The movie will be available in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. There are more recent movies that can be added to the list like Nivin Pauly-starrer Mikhael and Dileep-starrer Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel. Different from the usual practice of TV channels buying the satellite rights of a movie — that is being followed in the movie industry for decades – this new trend has changed the course of the entire process. There is no need for the audience to wait for Onam or Christmas to watch new movies. We look into the new trend and its pros and cons.
A win-win situation
Director of the movie Theevandi, Fellini T.P. is of the opinion that online release of movies even before their premier on TV channels is a positive move that provides a wider platform to Malayalam cinema. He says, “Releasing the movies on these online streaming apps gives them wider reach and people in any part of the world can watch the movie, which in turn gives wide publicity to a creative product made in our industry. Understanding the potential of this trend, almost all the major channels now have their own online streaming apps and therefore they buy the digital rights as well as the satellite rights. Therefore, the revenue generated, too, is double.”
Asked if this trend will, in long run, stop the sale of satellite rights of a movie to TV channels, Fellini adds that it might happen in the future. However, it is not expected to lessen the revenue that the makers get from selling the satellite rights of the movie. It is because the online streaming apps are given the digital rights at huge amounts well enough to make up for the satellite rights. “I think that it is a win-win-situation for the channels,” he says. In the case of movies like Lucifer or Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, the movies were released online only after 60 days, the permissible period.
Social media critic Hrishikesh Bhaskaran stresses that making movies available online is a wise decision because it covers that section of people who are always dependent on such apps for entertainment and are not serious TV viewers. “Times have changed and I think that there is very little time for anyone to sit down and watch television. People like to watch movies on the go and availability of the recent movies that they prefer to watch online is the best option available to them. I would also say that this will also contribute to lessen piracy to an extent because as the content is already available on the internet legally, the chances of downloading it through unwanted means are ruled out. Moreover, the movies are released worldwide, which curbs piracy at the initial stage itself,” he adds. Hrishikesh opines that the move with regards to the production perspective is a positive one as the revenue and reach is doubled. He adds that the trend can only upset those TV channels that are not ready to adapt to the shift.
Theatre experience is unique
Producer of the movie Lonappante Mammodeesa, Shinoy Thomas is of the opinion that nothing can replace the theatre viewing experience. “There is nothing surprising about movies like Lucifer that are still running successfully in theatres being released on online streaming apps as well. This is just the need of the hour. We should understand that gone are those days when majority of people could only watch the movie if it would run in the theatres for more than two months.
The number of theaters and screens has increased drastically and therefore most the people who like to watch a movie in the theatre watch it in the first two weeks. Lucifer running for these many days shows the success of the film in box office. But that doesn't mean that it can't be released online. Releasing movies online, according to me, in no way lessens the revenue generated from it as one more option is made available.”
Many like to watch movies online and it can be considered as a natural change that happens now and then in every field.