It took a deadly pandemic to get much deadlier, but it has happened: in a significant first for a big budget film, Salman Khan's Radhe will get a simultaneous release in theatres and the streaming platform Zee5, the platform announced on Wednesday. The film will also get a pay-per-view release on satellite TV. This is the second time Salman Khan's films have shortened theatres' exclusivity window; a deal that his studio signed with Amazon Prime Video in 2017 played a huge role in reducing the industry standard theatrical exclusivity window to 30 days. "We don't want to deny the audience the choice of entertainment in the comfort of their homes during these times," a Salman Khan Films spokesperson said. Theatre associations who have, throughout the pandemic, blasted filmmakers for releasing directly on streaming platforms, are not likely to complain. For one, Salman Khan can actually draw crowds to theatres (many of which are operating at limited capacity) in spite of a streaming release. Second, not letting viewers have the choice between watching at home and a risky trip to an enclosed air conditioned hall at a time like this would mean that movie halls would have blood on their hands — an amount of blood they cannot disclaim. This is more of a milestone for SARS-CoV-2 than it is for the streaming business. In the US, Warner announced that all its films in 2021 would come out simultaneously on HBO Max and theatres to give viewers a safe alternative to…
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