Amazon has secured the right to premiere seven Indian films that were originally scheduled to go straight to its Prime Video One-step, on-demand streaming service that has prompted two major cinema chains to express “extreme displeasure” and “disappointment”.
The e-commerce giant, which is reportedly having talks about buying the AMC theater chain, announced on Friday that it would release these films, including “Gulabo Sitabo” with Indian legend Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, and “Shakuntala Devi “with Vidya Balan as lead in the next three months from May.
Prime Video subscribers do not have to pay an additional fee to access these films, which include five Indian languages. Other “highly anticipated”
The move comes as India maintains a nationwide ban that has closed more than 9,500 theaters and other public places.
PVR and INOX, two major theater chains in India that together operate some 1,500 screens in the country, said they were alarmed and concerned about the move.
“Although such actions are isolated, they affect the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers more as fair weather friends than as lifelong all-weather partners. Needless to say, INOX will be forced to consider its options and reserves all rights, including retaliation, to deal with such fair weather buffs, ”INOX said in a statement.
Amazon, which started selling cinema tickets in India last year, has tried to question “ancient window pattern” in INOX’s words. In the past year and a half, the shopping giant has signed contracts with film studios to narrow the window for a film’s theatrical release to a few weeks from its debut on a streaming service, from two to three months in India.
INOX and PVR are not alone. Last month AMC The cinemas said Universal Pictures was no longer showing films that released “Trolls World Tour” directly for streaming.
Amazon, which bundles Prime Video in its Prime subscription for $ 13 a year in India, provides these films with a platform that reaches 4,000 cities in more than 200 countries and territories. The company has not announced how many Prime Video subscribers it has amassed in India or elsewhere. Amazon Prime Video competes with Disney’s Hotstar, Netflix and more than three dozen other services in India.
Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager of Amazon Prime Video India, said in a statement: “Indian audiences have been eagerly awaiting the release of these 7 highly anticipated films, and we are delighted that Amazon Prime Video is now supporting these films our films will be premiered by customers – who can enjoy them from the safety and comfort of their home and on a screen of their choice. “
It seems that Amazon didn’t have to spend a ton to acquire rights for these titles. In an interview with Huffington Post India, Ronnie Lahiri, co-producer of “Gulabo Sitabo” said, “It wasn’t as if we had gotten crazy money from Amazon”, although he called the deal “win-win”.
“We are facing a unique phenomenon that has not been observed since World War II. Things are changing in these times. At first people have concerns, but you have to adapt. This is how human civilizations have thrived. As soon as we stop, We are ready to adapt, so instead of waiting for the situation to improve, you can approach it with other alternatives, ”he said.