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Multiplexes gearing up to recommence screening

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on October 01, 2020 Published on October 01, 2020

Analysts estimate it will take 4-5 weeks to get the cinema halls running across the country (file photo)   -  THE HINDU

Awaiting state governments permissions

With multiplexes and cinema halls getting the much awaited nod from the Central government to restart operations from October 15, the exhibition industry will now need to work hard to build confidence among viewers and the State governments, to set the cash registers ringing.

While the I&B Ministry will soon be releasing the SOP guidelines, the Multiplex Association of India has now urged State governments to swiftly permit the industry to begin operating cinema halls with 50 per cent seating capacity.

Confidence building

Jehil Thakkar, Partner, Deloitte India said,“The exhibition industry will need to focus on building consumer confidence through adoption of hygiene and safety protocols and to get the audience to return to the cinema halls. Initially, regions with lower Covid-19 cases may see better footfalls but most of the key metros are still deeply impacted by the pandemic.”

With food and beverage sales contributing nearly 25-30 per cent to the overall revenues, getting the consumers to buy the products at the theaters will also be a key challenge, he added.

With some States such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu expected to take more time to give permission, analysts estimate it will take 4-5 weeks to get the cinema halls running across the country.

Content pipeline

Alok Tandon, CEO, Inox Leisure Ltd said, “We are positively hopeful that the State governments now, will give us the green signal too, and allow us to resume the operations within the specified guidelines. We are completely geared up and prepared for the new normal, which would assign topmost priority to safety and hygiene.”

“We are certain that the Unlock 5.0 announcement would also make the content producers plan their releases, which should strengthen the content pipeline for the remaining part of the year. We know that the masses are yearning to step out and enjoy their favourite form of entertainment, which is cinemas,” he added.

PV Sunil, MD at Carnival Cinemas said that the 50 per cent seating capacity norm is in-line with the industry’s demand and has also been adopted in many international markets. “Producers are already having conversations about releasing their films. In the first few weeks there may not be an overflow of content but things will resume normalcy soon,” he added

Experts said content availability in the initial days may be limited till key states such as Maharashtra allow opening of theatres. Multiplex chains are expected to play library and alternate content besides unreleased Hollywood content in the first few days. However, industry players pointed out that films such as Sooryavanshi, 83, Bunty and Babli 2, Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Toofan, among many others are in the pipeline. The multiplex industry will also be banking on Hollywood flicks such as Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984 besides the latest instalment of the James Bond series- No Time to Die.

However, analysts said that film makers are expected to continue leveraging on OTT platform through various strategies till occupancies stabilise at the cinema halls.

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Published on October 01, 2020
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