Movies
Report on Shemaroo

Industry remains cautiously optimistic with reopening of cinema halls

The 50 per cent cap is not worrying multiplex owners, analysts

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2020/10/02/thet.jpg?itok=BvSAJ3kI

KOLKATA: For people across the film exhibition industry, the Unlock 5.0 guidelines have brought them a reason to smile. On Wednesday evening, the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed opening of cinema halls from 15 October with 50 per cent seating capacity. As the sector is back in business, the stakeholders rejoice the decision despite persisting challenges.

The reopening of the cinema halls is a critical point for the industry that has been struggling in the face of the pandemic. Even before the nationwide lockdown started, cinema halls shut fearing the spread of Covid2019. Being out of the business for nearly seven months, the cinema owners have been asking for some respite for quite some time now. Last month, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) appealed to the government to allow theatres to reopen “on an urgent basis”. The association has “wholeheartedly” welcomed the latest decision of the government. Back in June, a survey from Book My Show stated that 54 per cent of Indians want to catch their favourite films in cinemas within 15-90 days of opening up.

“Millions of movie lovers, employees of the cinema exhibition sector, along with the entire film industry were eagerly awaiting this announcement. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the MHA and the ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for their support and guidance. We are committed to ensure a safe, secure and a hygienic cinema going experience for the movie lovers of our country, as always, we would continue to assign top-most priority to the health and well-being of our guests and employees,” MAI stated.

The multiplex owners have expressed an equal amount of satisfaction around the announcement. Carnival Cinemas managing director PV Sunil said this is the right time to open up with Diwali around the corner. Sunil opined that 50 per cent capacity is better than what they had predicted would be allowed. The industry had been proposing a 50 per cent capacity. Most of the countries are also following the same norm. As of now, Carnival’s software is being modified in accordance with that so that the audience has a seamless experience while booking tickets online.

“This is a welcome move by both the west Bengal government and the central government. So many people are associated with the industry, so much money is at stake, the industry was losing almost Rs 1,500 crore every month while it was shut. We are happy that we are able to restart and people will be able to go back to the practice of going to a movie theatre.” SVF Cinemas head Rudra Prosad Daw said, the movie chain which operates in east India.

While a part of the industry has been worried about the seating capacity limits eating up their profits, Daw said that it is a good percentage in the initial phase. He added that average footfall over the year is on an average 32 per cent, although it is higher excluding the southern part. However, he noted that for big blockbuster releases, the footfall goes up to 80-90 per cent during the weekend which could be a cause of discomfort. Daw emphasised that safety would be put at highest priority, for both audience and staff members.

Ambient director Deepak Kumar welcomed the move and said it would help cinema halls to be better prepared to welcome its consumers like most of the establishments have done that have resumed operations in a phased manner. According to him, cinema halls opening with 50 per cent seating capacity is a step in the right direction. Moreover, as the cinema halls are usually located within a mall, it would also add up to the footfall count. The decision will not just help the owners but also its ancillary.    

The return of cinema halls to business came as a relief for the studios too which have halted many of their releases. Many of the OTT platforms may have opted for digital premiers giving some breather to the production houses but the number is too limited compared to overall pending movie slate.

“The reopening of theatres is a relief for studios and theatre owners while once again offering audiences the unparalleled experience of watching movies on big screens. We are looking forward to entertaining audiences in this era of the “new normal”. The pandemic has led to a surge of content consumption across genres and platforms and this is a hugely encouraging indicator for content creators and providers. Cinema is and will always continue to remain an expression of creativity and imagination and we look forward to fostering a stronger bond with our audiences,” Eros Motion Pictures COO Shikha Kapur said.

But now the eyes are at states like Maharashtra, which has decided to continue the shut down till 31 October. Elara Capital VP – research analyst (media) Karan Taurani said that pan India opening is expected around Diwali or latest by late November. Hence, he opined that large scale content or a big Hindi film is not to hit cinemas before December. SVF Cinema’s Daw also added that they have not heard from Bollywood yet while its parent company SVF and some other producers in west Bengal has already planned releases around Durga Puja.

“We are cognisant of the prevalent environment and will monitor this on an ongoing basis to determine our release strategy. With regards to our content slate, Eros has an exciting line-up of films for which announcements will be made at an appropriate time,” Kapur added.

Adding to concerns regarding the fresh releases, analysts believe impact on revenues coming from food and beverages (F&B) and advertising may last longer. “F&B will be under pressure as consumers may not be open to consuming food in cinemas; further, affordability levels too may negatively affect overall F&B spending vs pre-Covid times. Advertising revenue, which is too high margin in nature, will see a negative impact as occupancy in our view will remain restricted until active cases become negligible or a vaccine is launched,” Elara Capital said in a report.

However, Ambient’s Kumar is optimistic. He stated brands would flock back to cinema halls as cinema is an efficient advertising medium which ensures 100 per cent captive audience. 

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/05/03/photogrid_plus_1620043516493.jpg?itok=ahB028c1
Covid second wave pushes multiplexes’ recovery to next fiscal: CRISIL

New Delhi: Multiplexes across the country are set to log operating losses for the second straight fiscal as localised lockdowns, night curfews and other restrictions to contain the resurgence of Covid2019 infections will keep occupancies low for the next few months, according to CRISIL ratings. The...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/26/photogrid_plus_1619416997946.jpg?itok=l4e1W-O2
Chloe Zhao and ‘Minari’ star Yuh-Jung Youn make history at Oscars 2021

New Delhi: Beijing-born Chloe Zhao made history at the 93rd Academy Awards as the first Asian woman and only the second woman ever to win the Oscar for best director for the film Nomadland. The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman ever to win the coveted prize eleven years ago.

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/25/photogrid_plus_1619332220425.jpg?itok=3yFGfW5e
The show must go on: Oscars 2021

HOLLYWOOD: After the longest award season in history, the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony will make its mark after major setbacks due to the Covid2019 pandemic and its producers have promised a show like no other before it. The ceremony will begin Sunday, 25 April at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time or on...

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/23/photogrid_plus_1619180367585.jpg?itok=QaZkgEML
Star Movies brings alive the magic of Hollywood with #HollywoodUnlimited

As the Red Carpet is unfurled and India waits with bated breath to see if we finally bring home an Oscar statuette after almost 2 decades, Star Movies is amping up the excitement with a novel Instagram campaign #HollywoodUnlimited featuring super-talented and gorgeous Elisha Kriis. As a countdown...

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/21/photogrid_plus_1618999408883.jpg?itok=xyVB9i5N
Salman Khan-starrer Radhe to debut on Zee5, Zee Plex along with theatres

KOLKATA: As the Covid2019 pandemic once again slams the film exhibition industry with new restrictions, filmmakers and distributors have been in a quandary — whether to postpone movie releases or take the direct to OTT route. Now, taking a cue from foreign production houses like Warner Bros, Salman...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/14/radhe-sooryavanshi.jpg?itok=dg2TVAdh
Second Covid wave chokes India; filmmakers eye OTT route for new releases

MUMBAI: After showing signs of flattening the curve, India is once again struggling to leash the deadly virus that has reared its ugly head in the last few weeks. On 13 April, the country recorded more than 1,61,736 Covid2019 positive cases and over 900 related deaths. As the pandemic rages on,...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/13/img_13042021_130124_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=AHpV8Zv1
Amid pandemic scare, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ enjoys dream box-office run

NEW DELHI: Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs Kong was one of the most-anticipated films of the year, though with many big-budget movies getting pushed back due to the pandemic, stakeholders were jittery if the monster action flick would come to cinemas. However, the movie had its international theatrical...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/09/img_09042021_182155_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=HMnQNoXv
ShortsTV & BookMyShow Stream bring home the Oscars magic

MUMBAI: After the much-awaited announcement of Oscar 2021 nominations last month, film enthusiasts in India can now watch this year’s Academy Award contenders for short films from the comfort of their homes. ShortsTV has collaborated with BookMyShow Stream to present these films exclusively to...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/04/08/img_08042021_153646_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=Wk8YuEOl
FCAT abolished, filmmakers criticise government's decision

NEW DELHI: It was on April 7 that the government decided to abolish the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) with immediate effect. The statutory body was formed in 1983 to hear appeals from filmmakers against the rulings by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). FCAT has played a...

Movies Hindi

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required