In a bid to lessen the financial difficulties of Malayalam film industry, the State government is contemplating ways to facilitate ‘wide release’ of new films.
‘Wide release’ means having the film released simultaneously in as many theatres as possible inside the State. Film goers like to go to the theatres to see new films. Once the film had run for a week or two, it is considered old unless there is a rage going. Some films pick up audience by the word-of-mouth goodwill and will run on in the ‘A’ class theatres for weeks together due to unpredictable reasons.
“If a film is released in more theatres in the State, the producer of a Malayalam film stands a better chance of recovering his investment,” said S. Priyadarshan, chairman of Kerala State Film Academy.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said some of the theatre owners (those owning ‘A’ class theatres) had been opposing the idea of ‘wide release.’ Their interest is in restricting the release. For instance, a new film released in a theatre in Thiruvananthapuram will not be allowed to be released simultaneously in Nedumangad, about 20 km away.
A person in Nedumangad who will love to go for that film will have to either travel all the way to Thiruvananthapuram to see it, or wait till it finally makes it to the ‘B’ class theatres. “But there may be good cinema theatres in that place also…In fact, there are hardly any theatres now in the State that can be called ‘C’ class, as we used to classify the thatched cinema houses of yester years. The State is one urban continuum. You can find good theatres even in remote places,” Mr. Priyadarshan said.
Delayed release in places outside the main centres will deprive the film of a major portion of the audience it would have got had the release been simultaneous. Also, within a week of the release of most films, unauthorised CDs will be available in the market.
He said the academy had just the other day completed an inspection of theatres across the State collecting details about the quality of the facilities in each. Three teams—each consisting of a sound engineer, cameraman, civil engineer, journalist and a knowledgeable film goer—have visited the theatres collecting details about the quality of the facilities. The details collected will be used for a re-classification of the theatres.
The list as per the re-classification will be published in the academy’s website soon. There will be an appeal committee to hear complaints, if any.
“Unreasonable opposition to ‘wide release’ will not work then,” Mr. Priyadarshan said.