Opening up of movie halls – No big releases before December: Karan Taurani
The Union Home Ministry, as part of its announcements for Unlock 5.0, has allowed the opening up of cinema halls from October 15, 2020 onwards. The announcement comes as a big relief for cinema halls and multiplex owners, as movies halls have been shut since March this year due to the strict lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19.
However, the Ministry has restricted the seating capacity in cinemas, theatres and multiplexes to 50 per cent in non-containment zones. Halls in containment zones will continue to remain shut.
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The Multiplex Association of India, representing the interests of cinema exhibition industry, had been appealing to the Government of India to reopen cinema halls through its campaign #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs. The industry body claimed that the rate of losses resulting from closure of cinema halls stood at Rs 1,500 crore monthly and amounted to Rs 9,000 crore over the last six months.
The cinema exhibition industry comprises of 10,000 cinema screens across the country and directly employs more than 2 lakh people.
Reacting to the latest announcement by the Government, Karan Taurani, VP – Research Analyst (Media & Consumer Discretionary), Elara Capital, said, “Cinemas being allowed to open pan-India basis Unlock 5.0 with 50 per cent occupancy is much better than the earlier indicated 25 per cent cap as per the West Bengal CM last week – this is in line, but positive vis-a-vis the West Bengal CM’s announcement.”
He further said that Maharashtra might not allow the opening up of cinema halls – in line with expectations. Also, other states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, too, may not open up in October.
“We expect pan-India opening around Diwali time or latest by the last week of November. Hence, we don’t expect any large scale content or a big Hindi film to hit the cinemas before December (there is high likelihood that Hollywood releases will test the waters around November only if Maharashtra opens up, whereas ‘Sooryavashi’ and ‘83’ will move to Christmas and beyond – Republic Day),” he added.
Taurani said that further updates on the content release front are awaited and added that clarity will emerge over the next two weeks.