Malayalam films won't have a simultaneous release outside Kerala if the informal discussions among producers and distributors reach a consensus.
The reason: increasing piracy that has led to a drop in the number of people visiting cinemas.
M Renjith, President of the Kerala Film Producers' Association, told TNM that the increasing cases of piracy has indeed affected the film industry.
"It's mostly outside Kerala that the piracy takes place. Movie-goers can shoot films inside cinemas outside Kerala with ease," he said.
Movie distributors and theatre owners are also affected by the drop in numbers and have similar concerns. Informal discussions of the stakeholders in this regard have been doing the rounds for a while, but a formal discussion is yet to take place.
Renjith added, “A formal meeting may happen at the end of this month. The attempt would be to prevent piracy at least in the initial week. That matters the most when it comes to collections.”
Liberty Basheer, President of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation, told TNM that there was very less or no piracy when films have limited release.
“Outside Kerala, say for example in Delhi, Mumbai or any other city or in places like Dubai, Kerala distributors or theatre owners don’t have any control at all. In Kerala, the theater owners are vigilant about piracy and we have the policy of banning theatres if piracy is proved. Outside Kerala, independent distributors buy the rights for movies and they're not associated with their counterparts in Kerala. Outside Kerala, people go as a group of 10 or 15 and shoot the movie inside theatres. It's difficult to find out,” Basheer said.
Kerala has 657 theatres in total and Liberty Basheer owns six theaters.
“It’s possible now to understand from which theatres piracy is happening, but when it happens outside Kerala, we can’t do anything about it. It has been noted that piracy happens mostly in theatres outside Kerala. We are chalking out the possibilities of postponing outside Kerala release at least by a week,” he added.