FEUOK blamed the producers’ greed for the collapse of the theater industry: In a recent development, the theater owners’ body Film Exhibitors United Organization of Kerala (FEUOK) is planning to screen only movies of minimum quality in theatres. The decision has been taken in the context of a crisis in the theater industry.
FEUOK officials highlighted the growing crisis surrounding over-the-top (OTT) releases, especially after stars step into production roles. The association strongly believes that the theater industry has suffered huge losses due to the greed of the producers of these stars.
Theaters strike in Kerala
A crucial meeting held in Kochi under the chairmanship of FEUOK decided to organize the strike for the next two days. The protest started after a breach of contract between the producers and theater owners regarding the OTT release of the film 2018.
It is noteworthy that Liberty Basheer, on behalf of the Film Exhibitors’ Federation, publicly stated that he would not participate in the strike. The original agreement between the theater owners and the producers stipulated that OTT releases would only happen 42 days after the theatrical release. But theater owners claim that the 2018 producer has ignored this agreement.
The film ‘2018’ debuted in theaters on May 5 and is scheduled for an OTT release on June 7. The decision drew considerable backlash as ‘2018’ gained immense popularity after its theatrical release. At a time when the Malayalam film industry faced concerns about declining theater attendance, ‘2018’ managed to garner considerable attention despite the dominance of high-budget films from other vernaculars. The film, which revolves around the devastating floods in Kerala in 2018, created a huge buzz through word-of-mouth publicity.
With sold out shows within a week of its release, ‘2018’ became the highest grossing film in the history of Malayalam cinema. The makers proudly announced that it surpassed the success of Mohanlal’s Pulimurugan to become Malayalam cinema’s biggest hit of 2018, grossing over 160 crores at the global box office. Also the Hindi versions of the film.
The tussle between FEUOK, which represents theater owners, and some star-turned-producers reflects the complex dynamics and challenges facing the Kerala film industry. It remains to be seen how this issue will develop and whether a resolution can be reached to restore unity within the industry.