Following the Coronavirus-induced lockdown and the OTT-release trend, single-screen theatre owners are facing the worst financial crisis of their lifetime and they are seeking all possible measures to churn the profit. In a desperate attempt, cinemas in small centres screened a pirated copy of Akshay Kumar starrer Laxmii all over the country without a distributor.
As per the report, the cinemas succumbed to the situation arisen from the downfall of traditional theatrical releases and downloaded a pirated copy of the movie to screen illegally. Since there was no distributor involved, the entire profit was bagged by the cinema owners and movie-goers were unaware that they paid for tickets to enjoy an illegal screening of Laxmii. However, it is not the first time that these cinemas screened illegally.
“These are regular cinemas who come to us for buying the screening rights of films distributed by us and by the other distributors like us. If the terms demanded by us don’t suit them, they go away without striking deals but they then screen the film illegally and pocket the collections cent per cent.” a distributor told a tabloid. “However, there are some basic differences between the illegal screening in the pre-COVID days and this particular case of Laxmii,” he added.
While the ongoing tussle between Multiplex Association of India and movie producers stands clear, multiplexes have refused to screen any film premiered over the OTT platform and therefore, no theatrical rights were sold for Laxmii. However, single-screen cinemas plead Akshay Kumar to rescue them and release his movie at single-screen cinemas but their requests were not entertained. With starvation of playing programmes, they pirated the movie. Ironically, the cinemas are also equipped with digital protection systems to prevent piracy.
Starring Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani in the leads, Laxmii premiered exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar on 9th November. Helmed by Raghava Lawrence, Laxmii is a remake of the Tamil film Kanchana and is bankrolled by Akshay Kumar himself in association with Fox Star Studios (now Disney).
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