Will 'Bell Bottom' finally end up being an OTT release?
Clouds of uncertainty around the release of Akshay Kumar's Bell Bottom are far from clearing out. Although makers announced the espionage thriller will hit the big screens on July 27, the recent decision of the Maharashtra government to tighten COVID-19 curbs once again might push it toward a digital release. As per a report, makers are already discussing the possibilities of an OTT release.
Maharashtra under Level-3 relaxation, hence all theaters are closed
A trustworthy source of OTT release news, LetsOTT Global, tweeted late on Saturday that Bell Bottom might see a direct-to-digital release after all. This is because Maharashtra has been put under Level-3 of its amended five-level unlock strategy, whereby all theaters will remain shut. The call was taken keeping in mind the spread of the Delta and Delta-Plus variants of the virus causing COVID-19.
Plans to revive business of theater owners/distributers seem bleak
Many industry professionals had pinned their hopes on 'Bell Bottom'
With major releases taking the OTT route, Kumar's decision to ahead with a theatrical release was hailed by cinema hall owners and distributors. Exhibitors were optimistic about the big-budget movie drawing the crowd out again. Soon after the Bell Bottom release date announcement, Pen Studios had also announced the release dates of several productions like Gangubai Kathiawadi, RRR, the untitled Anniyan remake, and Attack.
'Bell Bottom' and OTT have crossed roads multiple times before
In May, reports suggested the film's producer Pooja Entertainment was discussing a direct-to-OTT release deal with Hotstar, apparently demanding Rs. 150 crore. Later, reports claimed Amazon Prime Video defeated Hotstar to bag the streaming rights. Elaborating on the deal, LetsOTT Global tweeted on June 30 that Prime Video paid Rs. 30 crore extra to secure the OTT premiere three weeks after the theatrical release.
What is the update on the Delta Plus variant now?
While these reports are speculative and makers might still want to launch the espionage period drama on the big screens, they will definitely have to postpone the release. On the same day when Maharashtra curbs were announced, the Delta Plus variant was reported to have reached 12 Indian states. The mutated variant is being feared to be a potential catalyst for the third wave.