It is now confirmed that no Tamil or Telugu film will release from March 1. Those hoping for a last minute resolution in the stand-off between the south Indian film industries and Digital Service Providers (DSPs) have to remain disappointed.
However, Malayalam and Kannada films which have been censored already will release. Speaking to TNM, Ranjith from the Kerala Film Producers' Association said that there will be a one day strike to show their solidarity with the other industries.
"Two films were scheduled to release on March 2. While Ira has been postponed to March 3, Khaleefa has been pushed to March 9," he said.
Karnataka Film Chamber President Sa Ra Govind said that the Kannada film industry was on strike for a day, and that new releases would come from Friday.
Further, reports say that theatres in Andhra and Telangana will completely shut down from March 2, while they will stay open in other states.
The last round of talks between the south Indian film industries and the DSPs was held on February 23 in Bengaluru. This was the third time that the two parties were meeting to find a resolution. However, the talks ended without them reaching an agreement.
Jayendra Panchapakesan, co-founder of Qube Cinema, a leading DSP, tweeted that despite providing multiple price options and a cost reduction from Rs 22,000 to 14,000 per screening, all offers had been turned down by the film industries. The south Indian film industries have claimed that the Visual Projection Fee demanded by DSPs like Qube and UFO are too high and eat into their profits.
Producers like SR Prabhu of Dream Warrior Pictures have spoken against DSPs, alleging that they're running a "scam." However, not all distributors and theatre owners are convinced. Distributor Tirupur Subramaniam had hit back at SR Prabhu, claiming that the film industry was making losses not because of VPF charges but because of the exorbitant salaries charged by top stars and technicians.
The strike may affect several big releases in Tollywood such as Rangasthalam, starring Ram Charan and Samantha which is slated for a March 30 release. In Tamil, there about 50 movies in the pipeline for the next three months, including Rajinikanth's Kaala, Vishal’s Irumbu Thirai, and Sai Pallavi's Karu.