Sooryavanshi - The Ball Is In The Makers Court
Thursday 18 February 2021 15.00 IST
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The return of the Hindi watching film audience to the cinemas is still up in the air as the makers of Sooryavanshi cant come to an agreement on the terms of release with the national chains. It is said to be the reopening of the Hindi markets with Sooryavanshi but that is not actually correct as the cinemas are open and the wait is for the audience to return which should happen with a big film be it Sooryavanshi or another film.



The ball is in the court of the makers as the national chains have offered a very good deal and much better than most would have expected. The film is being given 65% in the first week and then a 10% drop each week for the next three weeks if the business stays below 135 crore nett. If it goes above 135 crore then its 60% and a 10% drop for the next three weeks. If the film crosses the  200 crore nett mark then the terms as as pre covid.



This deal would be taken by most studios as you are getting a solid share of the business and it has to remembered that very few Hindi films manage 50% occupancy without the help of holidays in normal times and that is unlikely to change now so getting 65% share is huge. There is also a sticking point that the chains want a six week window from theatrical release to digital while the makers want four but this should not be hard to settle. .



The main sticking point is that the makers have asked for a first claim of the business till 25 crore and then the sharing terms can begin as they believe they have held the film back for a year and incurred losses so want to recoup some of these losses. This basically means all the business on day one or even day two goes to the makers until the the business goes over 25 crore nett and then sharing terms begin.



There were reports over the weekend of the film going straight to OTT or not releasing in the national chains but this seems to be pressure tactics for some sort of shift from the chains. The claims are always exclusive or breaking news but that is hardly ever the case and the information pushed to the media is what is needed at the time. No doubt the exhibition sector needs Sooryavanshi but not at these sort of costs as you are practically changing the whole business model.



The terms are very good and is about the makers setting a date and getting the film out if they really want a theatrical release which is the need the of hour for both the makers and exhibitors. The film is with Netflix and there are figures of 175 crore and 200 crore doing the rounds for Sooryavanshi to become a Netflix original but till date Netflix has not paid over 75 crore till date for any Hindi film for digital rights.



Infact it is only Amazon prime which have paid over 100 crore for some films. The likes of Hotstar have held all rights for the films they pegged at 100 crore plus for digital. They are just shifting to a sister company so its just on paper. Laxmmi and Coolie No1 managed to get over 1 crore unique views on OTT as Disney Hotsar and Amazon prime have that sort of reach but the Netflix total subscriber count is well short of 1 crore in India so Sooryavanshi will not the get the sort of audience if it comes on Netflix. Obviously it will be seen through torrents but that does not really count.



It remains to be seen what happens with Sooryavanshi but there is no doubt that the terms being given by the national chains are very good and there is not much more they can give which leaves it up to the makers to decide which route they want to take. The announcement of the YRF slate as well as a few films from South with some potential and likely Hollywood releases would have eased the pressure of exhibitors to meet the demands of the makers. Slowly the tide will turn for Hindi cinema be it with Sooryavanshi or without Sooryavanshi.



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