The raging new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has caused producer ZEE Studios to change its film releasing strategy. “Radhe: Your Most Favourite Bhai,” the latest vehicle for Bollywood superstar Salman Khan will not be released in theaters alone, but instead be distributed simultaneously across multiple platforms.
The film will release theatrically worldwide, wherever cinemas are open, as scheduled on May 13, during the Eid holiday season. In addition, globally, the film will also be available on streamer ZEE5 to all annual premium subscribers.
In India, the film will release theatrically and simultaneously release on ZEE5 via pay-per-view service ZEEPlex, and also on rival DTH satellite operators including Dish, D2H, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.
After a period of respite, India is now the global epicenter of the pandemic. It is recording nearly 300,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths daily. But rather than delay the film’s release, Zee has chosen a hybrid theatrical and premium online approach.
“The ongoing pandemic forced us to innovate, and we are proud to be the first to embark upon this new distribution strategy,” said Shariq Patel, CEO, Zee Studios.
“While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we realized we’d be doing a disservice to Salman’s fans nationwide if we aren’t able to release theatrically in all Indian states. We sensed the need for a pay per view solution along with theatres, which gives the consumers flexibility and convenience of viewing the film. There cannot be a better film than ‘Radhe’ to offer the audiences who’ve been waiting for an out and out entertainer for over a year now. ‘Radhe’ continues our network’s deep relationship with Salman Khan and we are looking to release the film in over 40 countries including theatrical release in major overseas markets.”
The film is presented by Salman Khan films in association with ZEE Studios, produced by Salma Khan, Sohail Khan and Reel Life Production Private Limited.
“It’s imperative that we all come together and think of out-of-the-box solutions for cinema as an industry during the current pandemic situation,” said a spokesperson for Salman Khan Films. “We will support the theater owners by releasing the film in as many theaters as we can, keeping in line with the rules and protocols laid down by the government. But, considering the guidelines and safety measures, we also need to devise ways to ensure that the film reaches all of our audience. We don’t want to deny the audience the choice of entertainment in the comfort of their homes during these times.”
The international theatrical release will include the Middle East, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Europe. “Radhe” will also be the first Bollywood film to release theatrically in the U.K. since the lockdown last year, when cinemas reopen May 17.