Movie theatres have re-opened, much to relief of cinema exhibitors.
But the question that movie exhibitors are asking is, where ARE the patrons to fill those seats? The bums are gone. Movie attendance throughout North India remains extremely discouraging in the post-lockdown phase, what with audiences being given no incentive to be lured back into the large-screen experience.
The Hindi feature films released in theatres since the re-opening of theatres in October have reported abysmal attendance. And there is no hope for a better boxoffice performance in the near future.The next big release is the Akshay starrer Bell Bottom in 3D and the John Abraham starrer Satyamev Jayate.
But the question that is troubling movie exhibitors is, how will they sustain their business with so little content available? Most producers have sold their products to the OTT platform and that includes biggies like Shershah and Bhuj: Pride Of India.
A representative from a major multiplex chain tells me there is little hope for any sign of recovery for the move business.
“The future looks bleak,very bleak. We movie exhibitors are losing serious money, and at this rate we will have to shut down theatres once again. Yes, that is an option we are very seriously considering. We may close down theatres until May. By then hopefully the audience will want to come back to theatres to see Salman , Akshay and others,” says the representative from the multiplex chain.
Most movie exhibitors blame the greed for quick money among producers for the current crisis in the exhibition sector of the movie business. They feel producers like Vashu Bhagnani and Akshay Kumar should have waited to release their films Coolie No 1 and Laxxmi in movie theatres rather than rushing to the OTT platform.
In the midst of this atmosphere of despair and gloom at the boxoffice comes the news the Akshay Kumar starrer Soryavanshi is being readied for an October release by its producer Reliance Entertainment and Rohit Shetty.