Big relief for the multiplex industry

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 30, 2020

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will be releasing the standard operating procedure guidelines for the industry.

Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50% of their seating capacity from October 15

The Ministry of Home Affairs gave its nod to cinema halls, multiplexes and theatres to open with up to 50 per cent seating capacity in areas outside containment zones from October 15. This development brings much relief for the exhibition industry, which had been reeling under heavy losses as multiplexes and cinema halls have been shut since March.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will be releasing the standard operating procedure guidelines for the industry.

Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, said, “This brings much relief and clarity for the industry on restarting operations. We will now have a dialogue with the State governments.” He said that with this clarity key stakeholders are expected to finalise their decisions on releasing new content soon.

Already West Bengal had indicated that it will allow cinema halls to re-open in October. However, analysts said a lot depends on decisions of other State governments and some States such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu may take more time to give their nod to re-open cinema halls.

PV Sunil, Managing Director, Carnival Cinemas, said that depending on permissions from the State governments, the company will begin opening theatres in a phased manner. “Some States may take more time to give the permissions. But we are all geared up and ready to take quick action to open our multiplexes and in talks with the producers for finalising the content line-up. The 50 per cent seating capacity norm will enable the industry to maintain social distancing at the cinema halls and is in-line with global practices,” he added.

Big-ticket films

The industry will be banking on big-ticket films movies such as Sooryavanshi and 83, which were earlier slated for a Diwali and Christmas release, respectively, besides Hollywood films such as Tenet.

Karan Taurani, Vice-President, Elara Capital, said the 50 per cent occupancy norm is positive for the industry as operating at a lower seating capacity would not have been commercially viable for the industry. “We expect pan-India opening of cinema halls to happen by around Diwali. While further clarity on content release will emerge in the next two weeks, it remains to be seen by when large scale content or a big Hindi films get released at the box office," he added.

Published on September 30, 2020

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