Mammootty fans and movie buffs are disappointed as the superstar’s highly anticipated project The Priest that was scheduled for release on March 4, will be postponed. The actor plays Fr Benedict, a former priest, who is interested in crime investigations. Not only does The Priest mark the first onscreen collaboration between Mammootty and Manju Warrier, but is also said that it’s the first time Mammootty’s playing the role of a priest in his four-decade-long acting career.
The announcement regarding the postponement of the film’s release was made by the film’s director Jofin T Chacko on his social media page. He did not announce the new proposed date for release.
The team has decided to postpone the release of the film as the government’s approval for conducting second shows is still pending. According to Jofin, the team had plans to release the film worldwide on the same day, so that cinephiles could experience the film on the big screen. "We always planned to release The Priest worldwide on the same day. This film should be experienced on the big screen by everyone. But, theatres are not functioning in many parts of the world, including Dubai, Saudi, Oman," Jofin said.
Jofin also pointed out that the Kerala government has not been permitted to run second shows yet. Releasing the film on the announced date, he said, would result in a loss for the filmmakers as they would lose a lot of family audience, who prefer second shows in Kerala.
While the neighbouring states have already allowed the theatres to function in full swing with 100 per cent occupancy, the 50 per cent cap on ticket sales is still in force in Kerala. Earlier, it was believed that, the government would allow second shows from March 1.
Reports state that a significant number of theatres that reopened after nine months to show Vijay's Master have now been closed due to the sharp decline in domestic box office collections and footfalls. While the members of the film fraternity have reached out to the Kerala government seeking permission to run second shows, the producers of big-budget films will remain reluctant to release their films theatrically until a favourable decision is taken.
In the meantime, it is worth noting that the release of Mohanlal's magnum opus Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham, which was supposed to release on March 26 was postponed to April 13 recently. The film will now release along with Fahadh Faasil's Malik and Nivin Pauly's Thuramukham.