The Jharkhand government has relaxed covid-19 restrictions, allowing multiplexes and cinemas in the state to resume operations starting this month. It joins Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which are among the states that recently permitted cinemas to reopen post the second covid wave.
To be sure, trade experts are projecting a grim picture for the Indian movie business on the back of permanent shutdown of several movie theatres across the country, audiences remaining wary of returning to cinemas and most big-ticket films unlikely to release soon despite easing of restrictions. This could result in a Rs3,000-4,000 crore loss for Bollywood this year alone, they say. While the January-March quarter barely managed box office earnings of Rs50 crore, the second quarter was a complete washout, with the first movie release, Akshay Kumar’s Bellbottom, now scheduled for the end of July.
Many analysts also point out that just like big filmmakers were hesitant about bringing expensive star vehicles to cinemas for months after reopening permits came in last October, they are likely to take it slow this time as well, with different seating capacities and state regulations adding to the chaos. Moreover, just like last year, the big summer season that sees tent-pole titles from both Hollywood and Bollywood hitting screens and is a coveted period thanks to school vacations, has been wiped out.
But in a positive of sorts there is a slate of Bollywood movies, such as Sooryavanshi, ‘83, Atrangi Re, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Prithviraj, Jersey, Lal Singh Chaddha, Satyameva Jayate, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bachchan Pandey, Pathan, and Cirkus, waiting it out for theatrical release. Similarly, southern producers who held back the release of new Malayalam and Tamil content such as Marakkar, Aaraattu, Annaatthe due to the elections in Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also keen to announce these titles as cinemas open up. Live Mint