In normal times, a film would have released in hundreds or maybe even thousands of theatres across the nation. But with theatres, multiplexes shuttered from the end of the March, producers are left with two choices: either to wait until the re-opening of theatres or to bypass the traditional theatrical release by opting for a direct digital release.
If we put aside the debate is it a viable option or not, OTT services are certainly a saving grace for the small-time producers in these troubled days, but this might not be the case with big films made on a lavish budget. As nearly half-a-dozen of major films released on OTT services recently, let's analyze their profit and performance.
The first and foremost film that hit the OTT was Amrutha Ramam, a Telugu romantic entertainer released on Zee5. Makers made a profit by selling digital rights, but coming to its performance it barely got any recognition.
The same is the case with Jyothika's courtroom drama Ponmagal Vandhaal which got sold for Rs. 9 Cr. The film is the first of seven new films to be released by Amazon Prime. Though it has not incurred any losses, its performance is below the expected level.
Next comes Keerthy Suresh's suspense thriller Penguin. Makers made a solid profit by selling digital rights. It also became the highest watched film trending all over the OTT searches. Though it is a critical flop by receiving mixed to negative responses, commercially it is a profitable venture to the makers.
Run, a psychological drama starring Navdeep and Pujita Ponnada is the first Telugu film made for the OTT platform Aha. Lacking a solid storyline, the film failed to impress the audience and ended up as a critical flop.
As all the crazy releases failed to impress, discussions went rife stating that choosing OTT release is not fruitful. But, proving it wrong, Krishna And His Leela, a Telugu-language based romantic entertainer, is doing extremely well, despite bagging mixed responses.
Released on Zee5, 47 Days starring Satya Dev received generally negative reviews. The film failed to appeal to the wider sections of audience. As the film was sold for little profits, the producers may be safe but the OTT site didn’t get any juice from the release. Satya Dev’s performance was well received.
Malayalam film Sufiyum Sujathayum, released on streaming giant Amazon Prime, as usual got rave reviews both from the critics and the audience. The film is a huge success for both the producers and the OTT giant. The film was praised for its simple but touching subject and beautiful narration.
The latest Telugu OTT Release to get an overwhelmingly positive critical response is Naveen Chandra and Salony Luthra starrer Bhanumathi & Ramakrishna.