The Ministry of Home Affairs has decreed that cinemas, theatres, multiplexes will be permitted to open with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity from October 15. The MHA announced new guideline for Unlock 5 which included recreational places such as entertainment parks, exhibition and others.
Ecstatic at the news, Abhishek Bachchan tweeted, “The best news of the week!!!!” PV Sunil, managing director at Carnival Cinemas said, “We are very happy with this news as we have been waiting for this for quite sometime. Business has been affected so badly but I would say this is the right time to open up with Diwali around the corner. 50 per cent capacity is better than what we had thought would be allowed earlier. In fact, we had been proposing a 50 per cent capacity. It is in keeping up with the norm of every other industry. Most of the countries are also following the same norm. As of now, our software is being modified in accordance with that so that the audience have a seamless experience while booking tickets online.”
“Over all, it is very good news. However, for us to open up, there is a lot of work to be done. The good part is that separate teams handle each property and we also have two weeks, it seems sufficient time for us to prepare. As it is, we have planned for the reopening all this while, so there shouldn’t be a problem. While couple of state governments are yet to give a go ahead on the reopening of theatres, we are likely to open all the major properties in other states in the stipulated time. On the content side, the producers are already having conversations about releasing the films. We have limited time slots, so the content shouldn’t be a problem. In the first few weeks, there may not be an overflow of content but things would resume to normalcy soon,” he added.
The movie halls had been closed even before the lockdown was announced in March. Some of the last films to get a theatrical release were Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, Baaghi 3, Love Aaj Kal, all of which suffered a bad box office report due to the pandemic.
Film lovers have been early awaiting the release of big budget films such as Sooryavanshi and 83, and also Hollywood releases such as Tenet and No Time To Die.
Reliance Entertainment CEO Shibasish Sarkar has said that in the scenario that theatres fail to open up by a certain time, the films could possibly be rolled out on streaming platforms. He told Bollywood Hungama, “We are 100% inclined to take theatrical route. However, at the same time, we don’t want to delay the release further than practically possible. That means we will not like to push release dates beyond Diwali / Christmas. So the first option is to go theatrical if cinemas open up and audiences are back.”
“Basically we will not like to shift release date further…. and ideally look for theatrical or any other hybrid measure for the best possible release,” he said.
Since the lockdown, many films which were earlier supposed to get a theatrical release, decided to got the OTT route. Sadak 2, Gulabo Sitabo, Khaali Peeli have all got released over the past couple on months on streaming sites.
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