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Multiplexes continue to open new properties in the face of pandemic

Multiplex chain Carnival Cinemas has opened a three-screen theatre in Indore, much like its peers, setting aside concerns about financial stress brought on by coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of audiences returning to theatres in the near future.

Some months ago, Fun Cinemas, under parent Cinepolis, had opened a three-screen property in Gujarat, while Miraj Cinemas had launched in Raichur and is looking at opening properties in Delhi, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Hyderabad. Meanwhile, PVR Ltd which just launched in Mysuru, plans to invest between Rs100 crore and Rs150 crore in setting up new properties.

Many of these were commitments made before the pandemic, said theatre owners and trade analysts, while others are being aided by real estate costs falling across the country.

The pandemic has definitely hit the cinema business but it has also given an opportunity for real estate expansion. Rentals, a big part of the balance sheet, which were sky high before covid, are down by at least 30-40% right now depending upon the city, the size of the mall, and the overall development, theatre owners say.

They added that theatricals will always hold the biggest and the most significantly critical position in the movie consumption value chain, globally, which includes other mediums like OTT and satellite. That, combined with the huge appetite for cinematic entertainment and the fact that India remains one of the most thinly penetrated countries as far as multiple screens are concerned, will help multiplexes stage a comeback.

“During these testing times, the entertainment industry has seen lots of hiccups but with the strong line-up of upcoming releases, we are expecting pre-covid level of footfalls very soon,” Kunal Sawhney, senior vice-president – operations and F&B, Carnival Cinemas said in a statement adding that as an inaugural offering, ticket prices in the new property have been fixed at Rs. 99 for regular seats and Rs. 150 for sofa and recliners. Mint

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