Monday saw the grand announcement by Disney+ Hotstar that the streaming platform will be premiering seven major Bollywood films over the next few months and, within hours, the Carnival Cinemas group has come out to express "disappointment" with the trend of digital release of Bollywood films.
Without taking names, Carnival Cinemas CEO Mohan Umrotkar said in a statement: "We stand by our previous statement. It is very disappointing that the filmmakers are opting digital first route when we are just steps away from the theatrical releases with the reopening of cinema halls across the country with all the necessary precautions."
"The economy is reopening and malls have already opened. They just need to have some more faith and patience to hold the content for the big screens, that is what it was made for."
"During the lockdown we have participated in many surveys to realize that the audience is waiting for cinemas to reopen. For the entertainment industry to flourish everyone needs to stand by each other. And if films made for theaters release directly on streaming platforms it may hamper the overall growth of the ecosystem."
Last month, Carnival Cinemas had issued a statement that said: "Though we are disappointed with the move of filmmakers to go straight to digital, we understand the financial burden/compulsion that one may have in these times...The situation is such that you cannot blame anyone. In this time of uncertainty some producers have decided to release their content directly on OTT. It is within their rights to decide but we will not release those movies in our theatres."
On Monday afternoon it was announced that seven Bollywood movies will be releasing directly on an OTT platform. These are the Akshay Kumar-starrer "Laxmmi Bomb", Ajay Devgn's "Bhuj: The Pride Of India", "Sadak 2" starring Alia Bhatt, Sushant Singh Rajput's last film "Dil Bechara", "The Big Bull" starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vidyut Jammwal-starrer "Khuda Haafiz" and "Lootcase" featuring Kunal Kemmu.