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As States allow cinemas to open, ‘it is raining release dates’

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on October 03, 2021

Movie exhibitors are hoping for a blockbuster festival season ahead with theatres reopening across the country alongside a strong line up of Hollywood, Hindi and regional movies that are waiting to storm the big screens in the next couple of months.

Last week, the Maharashtra government allowed movie halls to reopen from October 22. The announcement came as a ‘booster dose’ to the pandemic-hit film industry, especially the film exhibition sector, which is estimated to have suffered losses of ₹4,800 crore besides closure of thousands of screens since the onset of the pandemic.

Maharashtra is the largest market for the Hindi film industry accounting for over 35 per cent of the box-office revenues. Several Bollywood filmmakers and production houses rushed to announce theatrical release dates of their films soon after the State government’s nod.

“It's raining release date announcements since yesterday. In fact, as many as 14 release dates were announced today, which is a record of sorts... Has never happened before... Expect more announcements in days to come,” film trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted a day after the Maharashtra government’s announcement.

Festival offerings

Actor Akshay Kumar was quick to announce that his much-anticipated film Sooryavanshi will hit the big screens on Diwali followed by several others.

Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji starrer Bunty Aur Babli 2 (November 19), John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate 2 (November 26), Ranveer Singh’s much anticipated 83 TheFilm (for Christmas) and Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey (December 31) are some of the noted releases scheduled in the next 2-3 months.

“Over 24 movie releases announced within 24 hours is proof enough. Any producer who is confident about his films will always want a theatrical release. Not only does it make better financial sense, but it also adds to the stature of the movie,” said Prashant Kulkarni, Head of Sales, Marketing & New Business Expansion at Carnival Cinemas.

He also expressed hope that States will allow 100 percent occupancy since cinemas are following all safety measures and putting in place stringent SOPs to ensure utmost safety to the patrons.

Waiting and watching

However, many big Bollywood films are scheduled for the first half of 2022 leaving the initial box office recovery to regional films.

While Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj is scheduled for January 21, 2022, actor Aamir Khan announced his film Laal Singh Chaddha will hit the screens for 2022 Valentine’s day. Akshay Kumar’s Bachchan Pandey (March 4), Kartik Aryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (March 25), Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 (May 6) are some of the noteworthy films that will hit the theatres in the first half of 2022.

On the regional front, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s Annaththe will hit the screens on Diwali along with Silambarasan’s Maanaadu and actor Vishal-Arya starrer Enemy. Sivakarthikeyan’s Doctor will kickstart the box office recovery in Tamil by hitting the big screen on October 9.

Telugu film star Allu Arjun’s much anticipated film, Pushpa - The Rise will release on December 17 while director SS Rajamouli’s much-awaited period action film RRR will release on January 7, 2022.

Malayalam film industry - which witnessed over 80 OTT releases since the onset of the pandemic - got a major relief on Saturday when the State government allowed cinemas to reopen, even if with 50 per cent capacity, starting from October 25. The Karnataka government has recently permitted theatres to operate at 100 per cent capacity.

“Good regional cinemas always play an important part. Vijay’s Master in the south and Pauda in north are testimonies to this already,” Carnival Cinemas’ Kulkarni said.

EOM

Published on October 03, 2021

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