The press show of 83 was held yesterday and it met with a roaring response. The verdict by the press has made it clear that the film is sure to find acceptance among audiences. Sadly, the screen sharing issues have still not been resolved, making many in the industry fear that this fine piece of cinema might suffer due to a faulty distribution strategy.
For those who are not aware of the issue, here’s a lowdown. Reliance Entertainment, which is distributing ’83, has asked exhibitors that only their film should be played in cinema halls for the next two weeks, that is, till January 6, 2022. If exhibitors will agree to this demand, they’ll have to discontinue playing last week’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01, both of which are doing fabulous business. Not just that, they also won’t be able to play Jersey, which releases on December 31. The Shahid Kapoor-starrer is being distributed by PEN Marudhar and they are also releasing the much-awaited RRR, which hits cinemas on January 7. The fear is that if Jersey is not screened, the exhibitor might also miss out on RRR. As a result, an exhibitor who will risk playing ’83 will have to sacrifice Spider-Man: No Way Home and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01 from week 2 and Jersey and RRR from day 1.
As a result, the exhibitors are willing to instead sacrifice ’83. A source told Bollywood Hungama, “The Monday collections of both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01 are excellent and proves that the film will have long legs and that it’ll also sustain well in the second week. So many exhibitors are ready to not play ’83 as it will not affect their ticket sales.”
As per the source, the revenue sharing term and the Sooryavanshi factor has also gone against Reliance. The source explained, “The single screens have been asked to pay 70% of revenue for 83. It’s way higher as compared to the terms of the other films. Also, Reliance had rubbed the exhibitors the wrong way during Sooryavanshi’s release on Diwali. Then, many were compelled to play not even one show of Marvel’s biggie, Eternals. During that time, Reliance had an upper hand as exhibitors were dying to show Sooryavanshi. In the case of 83, the exhibitors have several options. On top of that, with such terms, the cinema owners are in no mood to bow down. Not to forget, PEN Marudhar is going to release Jersey, RRR, Attack, Gangubai Kathiawadi etc. Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01 is being distributed by AA Films and they, too, have several films coming up, starting with Radhe Shyam in January. Why should we get into their bad books just for one film and thus risk getting such potential grossers from them in the near future?”
The multiplexes, however, will be releasing 83 with 55% revenue sharing in the first week. As a result, several multiplexes have already begun the advance booking of 83 since Sunday. The source revealed at this point, “The advance ticket sales of 83 till now have been decent but not record-breaking, as it happened during Sooryavanshi. This factor has further made Reliance’s case weak.”
As of now, 83 hasn’t been able to get sufficient single screens. “A little more than 50 single screens have been booked for 83 till now across the country. It’s woefully inadequate and it’s important it gets many other single screen theatres to play their film.”
When contacted, Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani Cinema in Bihar, said, “Because of the outstanding performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01, I am in a fix (over releasing ’83). All my five shows, playing the two films, are running to packed houses, even on weekdays.”
An industry insider, meanwhile, told Bollywood Hungama, “The exhibitors have an upper hand this time. Reliance will have to agree to share shows with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 01 in Week 1 and Jersey on December 31. There’s no other option. I am sure the issue will be resolved by Thursday evening and the film will be released widely. ’83 is said to be a mind-blowing film and deserves to be played in all parts of the country in sufficient numbers of shows.”
Meanwhile, Warner Bros’ The Matrix Resurrections, which releases tomorrow, on Wednesday, December 22, is also facing issues in getting screens. The Spider-Man + Pushpa hurricane is one of the reasons as theatres don’t want to reduce the shows of these two films. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox, some time back, announced that it has postponed the release of The King’s Man from December 31 to January 14. According to sources, this is happening due to the super-success of these two films.
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