100 Cinema Halls Across India May Shut After COVID-19 Lockdown

Due to COVID shutdown, India’s single-screen movie theatres are quickly diminishing out. 

According to a conservative estimate, 100 single-screen theatres across India. Including at least 25 in Mumbai-the heart of Bollywood, may close due to income losses caused by COVID-19. 

Add to that the powers-that-long-standing be’s refusal to grant their request for  loans and incentives. 

In any case, President of the Theatre Owners Association, Mumbai, claims that  several tiny theatres were on the edge of going down. When asked if the state  government would reply to the petition, he says succinctly, “I don’t have much  hope, but then clinging on to hope is the only straw in the wind for us right now.”  

What is to be done in a system where popcorn sales outnumber ticket  collections?”

According to industry analysts, since the start of the shutdown, 10-12 percent of  theatres have closed permanently. 

According to the most recent Ficci-EY media and entertainment sector study,  India had 6,327 single screens and 3,200 multiplexes as of 2019. 

Many of India’s 10,000-odd movie screens may never return after more than four  months of shutdown and uncertainty about reopening, prompting many of them  to close their doors for good. Single-screen theatres will be the worst impacted,  since they may not be able to pay the added expenditures of safety and hygiene  whenever they are permitted to operate. 

According to industry analysts, since the start of the lockdown, 10-12 percent of  cinemas have closed permanently, a figure that might climb to 15-20 percent if  they remain down for an extended period of time. 

According to the most recent Ficci-EY media and entertainment sector study,  India had 6,327 single screens and 3,200 multiplexes as of 2019. 

“The film exhibition business is in shambles, owing to a combination of an  indefinite delay in developing films and a lack of clarity on a reopening date for  theatres,” said Girish Johar, a film trade and exhibition specialist. Due to the long  production stoppage and completed films streaming on digital platforms, theatres  are wondering when they will be able to reopen, if viewers will feel confident  enough to return, and whether there will be any films for distribution. 

According to a BBC article, China, like India, the world’s largest movie industry, is  facing a threat to 40 percent of its approximately 70,000 theatres as a result of  covid. Theatres that shuttered in January reopened momentarily in March, but  then shuttered again, and are again slowly reopening. 

Tiny, single-screen theatres were already straining to deliver entertainment in  small communities at cheap admission costs, according to Atul Mohan, publisher  of trade journal Complete Cinema. Famous Chennai theatres such as AVM  Rajeswari and Maharani have closed in recent months.

“So many single screen owners are so unhappy that they don’t want to continue  in the industry at all,” said Vishek Chauhan, a Bihar-based independent exhibitor. According to Chauhan, when Bollywood stars do not want to support the industry  that has propelled them to popularity, the only alternative for these single  screens is to explore rents by transforming to either marriage halls or shopping  complexes. 

Multiplexes aren’t quite as desperate, but the going is just as rough for them.  According to Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas, it is normal for non-performing  assets to be closed each year, but industry experts believe that the ongoing crisis  will force many multiplex screens to close, particularly in small towns and virgin  territories where the penetration of movie theatres is already negligible. 

“Also, Bollywood is unlikely to achieve big box office figures for a while,” says the  author “Mohan said. “Stars who are used to being part of the 100-200 crore club  may find it difficult to attain these figures with many screens out of the game  until other players emerge to take their place, “he continued.