Covid second wave has hit movie business harder than expected. With rapid increase in positive cases, the Karnataka state government is taking stringent actions to curb the spread of the infection. The frequently changing rules are also posing threat to movies that have already released.
Puneeth Rajkumar starrer Yuvaratna opened to packed theaters on April 1. Within a week, the state government decided to bring in the rule for 50% occupancy in theaters in the wake of surging covid cases. The film team including Puneeth Rajkumar met the state chief minister B S Yediyurappa and appealed to postpone the new restrictions for three days, so that the makers could earn their weekend share. The state government had agreed to the proposal.
“Had we known this was going to happen, we wouldn’t release the movie in the first place,” said Puneeth Rajkumar to the media. Despite 50% occupancy, the movie gained good response.
Later, the makers of Yuvaratna decided to take a different route. Within a week of theatrical release, they struck a deal with OTT giant Amazon Prime Video and released their movie on the app on Friday. This is the first time a Kannada-language mega starrer has been released on OTT within 10 days of its theatrical release.
Yuvaratna is produced by Vijay Kiragandur of Hombale films who is also the producer of magnum opus KGF 1&2. According to sources close to the team, Amazon Prime Video bought Yuvaratna for a whopping Rs 20 crore. This in itself is a record for any Kannada movie. KGF chapter 1 had bagged Rs 18 crore deal which was highest before this.
“Given the present pandemic situation, this decision has been taken keeping in mind the larger reach of the good content to more viewers, especially families and elderly. The movie will continue to be screened in theaters. We seek co-operation from all fans, film fraternity and well-wishers,” said Hombale Films in a statement.