Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii released in the Diwali week on November 9 and was a big gain for OTT platform Disney Hotstar plus. While the opening day viewership of the horror-comedy was the highest for any direct to digital film streaming on a paid platform, the viewership dropped the following days due to poor public feedback.
According to the report, the amount paid by Disney+ Hotstar to acquire Laxmii and the expectations with respect to a spike in viewership and subscriber base, Laxmii managed to attain merely 50% of the target in the opening week benchmark.
Following this performance, the OTT giants are in two minds with regard to their acquisitions of big feature films. “Bhuj: The Pride of India, which is another offering on Disney and Coolie No. 1, which has been acquired by Amazon, have both fetched huge amounts for direct to digital premiere and have been acquired by the giants without watching the film in advance.
They paid the amount based on the names involved and the goodwill of the stakeholders in the market. Most of the OTT films have failed to do well on the respective platforms, and their sale for the digital premiere was more of an attempt to salvage the product.
However, with back to back debacles, the OTT heads have now woken up and are planning to demand advance screening for all their acquisitions henceforth and decide on the price to buy the films based on the content. The discussions are still on, however, this inside buzz has left Bollywood producers by shock as this might cut short their income by a massive amount,” a trade source told Bollywood Hungama.
This move, however, has come as a respite for cinema owners, as with limited income for direct to digital premiere; the producers are left with no option but to release the film on the big screen to stand a chance to recover their investment. The talk in the trade is, Amazon has requested for an exclusive screening of Coolie No. 1 for the in-house content curation team.