The producer of the highly-anticipated movie ‘Leo’, Seven Screen Studios, has taken legal action by approaching the Madras High Court in a bid to secure special early screenings of the film. The producer is petitioning the Tamil Nadu government to allow a special show at 4 a.m. on the day of the film’s release on October 19. Additionally, they are requesting permission for the screening of five shows between October 19 and 24, starting from 7 a.m.
Justice Anita Sumanth presided over the hearing on the writ petition and decided to adjourn it until Tuesday, October 17, 2023. This adjournment came as the Advocate General, R. Shunmugasundaram, requested time to verify whether a public interest litigation petition filed in the Madurai Bench, concerning movie show regulations, had been transferred to the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai.
Justice Sumanth stated that if the PIL papers were already in Chennai, the present writ petition could be consolidated with it and brought before a Division Bench. However, if not, she would decide on the writ petition filed by Seven Screen Studios, and she asked the Advocate General to obtain instructions by Tuesday morning.
In their affidavit, K. Ramachandran, the authorized signatory of Seven Screen Studios, emphasized the immense fan following of actor Vijay and the high expectations for the film ‘Leo.’ The petitioner argued that the success of a film is often gauged by its opening day collections and therefore, it is essential to have special shows.
The petitioner noted that Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan’s recent movies ‘Pathan’ and ‘Jawan’ opened with multiple shows in major Indian cities. Therefore, they asserted that it was reasonable to request an early special screening for ‘Leo’ in Tamil Nadu, especially considering the film’s worldwide release at 4 a.m. IST on October 19.
Senior Counsel Srinath Sridevan, representing the petitioner, pointed out that the State government typically permits only four shows a day in cinema theaters between 9 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. The government had allowed five shows a day for ‘Leo’ between October 19 and 24, but had restricted the timings to between 9 a.m. and 1.30 a.m.
Mr. Sridevan argued that it would be challenging to accommodate a 2 hour, 43-minute-long movie with mandatory breaks and cleaning intervals within the stipulated timeframe. Taking into account audience entry and exit times, he insisted that an earlier start time, beginning at 7 a.m., was essential for the five shows requested between October 19 and 24.