Malayalam Movie distribution
Working with Mulakuppadam films/Mulakuppadam release and a few other leading film production and distribution companies in the last few years, I think it is good to share my experience in distributing Malayalam movies with you. I will write mainly about my experiences outside Kerala within India in this article.
There are theaters in most of the Indian cities catering to regional language movies including Malayalam movies. They are willing to release simultaneously with Kerala release. For example there are 5-6 theaters in Bangalore (this number keeps increasing with new malls/multiplex culture) releasing Malayalam movies. Chennai has minimum/maimum of 3/6 theaters and Mumbai has 10-12 theaters screening Malayalam movies. Delhi got 2/3 screens for Malayalam movies. Coimbatore got 2, Nagorkoil 1 etc just to name a few. Many other cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedbad, Goa, Calcutta, Mangalore, Tirupur, Salem etc also have Malayalam audience.
All these theaters are digital screens (Qube/2K from Real Image, Chennai and UFO from UFO Digital Cinema, Mumbai). Kerala has got PXD digital screens (from Prasad lab) other than those mentioned above for almost an year. One can see the name of the technology (Qube/UFO/PXD) used written on the entrance of the theaters. Few theaters in Kerala used to go for Physical prints (good old film box) till march 2012. Now as far as Malayalam movies are concerned, its a digital screening for the last 6 months or so. Prints (film box) are required only for Overseas markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, U.S.A, U.K. etc for censoring. U.A.E (Dubai being one state) has gone digital censoring very recently.
A film box costs around rupees 50000-60000 depending on the length of the movie. Digital Screening companies have licenses on different terms. Weekly license costs around 4000 rupees in the first week which comes down in next week on-wards. There is also fixed package costing Rs 18000 plus which is valid for 6 months. There exists show number based licensing system also. A single show or daily one show licensing is an example for this. All these digital licenses are valid only in Kerala. If the movie is to be screened outside Kerala, then payment needs to be made in that state to get license.
Nowadays a movie usually completes its run within 3 months. DVD’s which used to release after 6 months are now released in 3 months (some cases) as screening gets over by that time.