Movie theatres could get the green signal to kickstart again from October onwards. But a tepid response to two tent-pole Hollywood biggies, Tenet and Mulan, may be the ominous sign that Indian exhibition sector could have done without.
The much-talked-about Christopher Nolan’s Tenet made just $29.5 million in North America in two weeks, which includes two feeble weekends ($9.5 million and $6.7 million respectively). Also, Mulan put up an eight-day total of $31.17 million in China, after plunging 82% on its second Friday.
So, the big question is: does it signal not-so-great business for India’s theatrical sector too? “It’s surely not a good sign, and is extremely unfortunate. But things are really difficult for everyone. Right now, safety and security are people’s priorities, and not entertainment,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
But the exhibitors and distributors feel Tenet and Mulan “may not be the best indicator of things.” Says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi: “There could be more than what meets the eye. Right before Mulan, The Eight Hundred made a whopping $350 million in China. Also, theatres are still shut in biggest US cities such as New York, Los Angeles and California. The same film did well in Europe where most of the places/theatres are running. Plus, going by reviews and people’s reactions, many have found Tenet to be a bit complicated film.”
Talking of Indian market, films such as Indoo Ki Jawani, Sooryavanshi (on Diwali) and ‘83 (on Christmas) are slated to release in theatres. “After sitting at home for over six months, I am sure people don’t have enough money to spend on movies, plus they must be saving up. But regardless of everything, theatres must open as many livelihoods are dependent on it,” says filmmaker Anees Bazmee. While Adarsh hopes that there will “soon be a vaccine”, Rathi is enthused with the way hospitality sector is performing. “With correct hygiene system, I am sure people can be brought back to cinemas,” he says.
Thanks to the latest reshuffle in Hollywood’s release plans, Wonder Woman 1984 has been moved from October 2 to Christmas, while Candyman has moved to 2021. The King’s Man moves from September 18 to February next year. As of now, only Black Widow and James Bond’s next adventure, No Time to Die are among biggies still lined up to release in 2020, in November.