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Showdown between producers and PVR, INOX intensifies as seven films go to Amazon Prime Video

INOX and PVR are worried. As digital releases nibble away at some films that were supposed to be releasing now, the exhibition industry is crying foul. Seven major films across the country are now releasing on Amazon Prime Video, including the Aayushmann Khurrana–Amitabh Bachchan starrer Gulabo Sitabo. Other films getting a digital release include Penguin (Tamil and Telugu), Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam), Law (Kannada) and French Biryani (Kannada). INOX and PVR have both expressed disappointment in the trend. PVR was a bit measured, telling HuffPost India, "We were hoping that the producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopened." INOX was more ballistic, threatening retaliation on producers like Gulabo Sitabo's, accusing them of being "fair-weather friends". This, even as the chain admitted that these deals were "isolated". The Producers Guild of India issued a statement today saying it was "disappointing to see abrasive and unconstructive messaging" from the exhibition industry, arguing that producers have also been bleeding money from things like unused sets having to be torn down and mounting interest on money raised for financing stalled productions. https://twitter.com/INOXMovies/status/1260936729617260544 Theatrics aside, this is an interesting pivot for Amazon Prime Video, which was once noted for its un-Netflix-esque willingness to accommodate Hollywood's three-month release schedule. But in India, Amazon has been pushing those limits since it signed a massive deal with Salman Khan in August 2017 that allowed it to release his films just a month after theatrical release. That one month window has become increasingly more common for Indian films, especially on Prime…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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