Ranveer Singh’s ‘83’ was the big release of 2021 for two reasons. One, it was one of very few films that actually saw theatrical release in 2021, due to the ongoing Covid pandemic wave. Two, the movie starred big budget blockbuster earners Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in the lead and the movie was a biopic of India’s Cricket world cup victory in 1983.
The subject matter of the movie and its actors were guarantees to success, yet ‘83’ had poor box office collections. It wasn’t because the movie was not good, but a large part of the decline in ticket sales was due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in December 2021, when the movie was released,
Meanwhile the movie was all geared for up for its OTT release when Mad Men, the production house of ‘83’ filed a plea in Bombay High Court (HC) asking to stay the release of the movie on TV and Netflix.
The production house filed the plea to delay OTT release on the basis that they had 37.5% ownership of the film as per the Consent Order of 2021. The Bombay HC though rejected the plea on the grounds that the Consent Order agreement does not apply to ‘83’ as the production house’s agreement with Star India and Netflix was made long before the Consent Order was passed.
Netflix and Star India who own the digital and satellite rights of ‘83’, were the defendants of the case and they put forth the argument that their individual agreements with the makers of ‘83’ were made long before the release of the movie. Star India got rights to the movie in 2017 while Netflix made the deal for digital release in 2019.
The court said, “In my Prima facie view…this certainly cannot apply to the Agreements which are already referred to in the Consent Minutes of Order and Clause 1.2 of the ’83 Agreement’ as having already created rights in favour of these third parties including Star and Netflix.”
The court further highlighted that Mad Men will get their rights to ‘83’ only after 10 years of the movie’s release. Since the movie hit the screens on December 24, 2021, Mad Men will have to wait until the December of 2031 to claim their rights.
The judge overseeing this case, Justice Riyaz Chagla, also said, “Defendant No. 4 (Star India) and Defendant No. 5 (Netflix) have antecedent rights of exploitation of the subject film on satellite and digital media and which has acknowledged and accepted by Plaintiff (Mad Man), the application is rejected.”
Netizens can rejoice as soon the movie ‘83’ will release on Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar. The reason ‘83’ will stream on both Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar is that Disney+ Hotstar is the digital arm of Star India. ‘83’ will also premier on Star Gold in March for TV viewers.