While the industry was expecting to resume operations from October 1st, filmmakers and cinema owners, who have been suffering major losses due to closure of the cinema halls, opined that it’s better late than never.
Maharashtra is one of the largest markets for cinema theatres with a contribution of over 40% of box office revenues for Bollywood films. It is also the only large state in the country which had not yet allowed the cinema halls to reopen since the Covid-19 restrictions imposed after the second wave.
Cinema industry has welcomed the move and thanked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for the decision to allow cinemas to reopen.
“This is a most welcome announcement by the Maharashtra government and I am confident that the exhibition sector will make every effort to comply with the agreed upon SOPs for a smooth and safe reopening,” said Siddharth Roy Kapur, Founder & MD of Roy Kapur Films and President, Producers Guild of India. “Producers can now begin to plan for all India releases, especially for Hindi movies, for which Maharashtra accounts for between 30-40% of the box office. The timing is also ideal with the festive season kicking in, case numbers in control, and audiences keen to venture out and enjoy out-of-home experiences once again with friends and family.”
Alok Tandon, CEO at India’s second largest multiplex chain INOX Leisure, said that his company is geared up and prepared to ensure the safety of its guests and employees.
“This decision has steered in a lot of cheerfulness, not just for the entire film industry and its audiences, but also for the employees of the cinema exhibition sector, and their families, who have been waiting for this to happen. We are also confident that with this much-awaited announcement, content producers would also plan their releases, which should strengthen the Hindi film content pipeline in the months to come and usher in better health for the cinema exhibition industry,” Tandon said.
ET has learned that Reliance Entertainment and Rohit Shetty are gearing up to release their much awaited cop-universe action film ‘Suryavanshi’ on Diwali.
The Akshay Kumar-starrer will clash with Marvel’s upcoming superhero film ‘Eternals’, and is expected to make for the biggest box-office weekend of 2021.
Earlier this month, the Multiplex Association of India, along with large cinema chains including PVR, INOX Leisure, CInepolis India, and the Producers Guild of India had appealed to the state government for reopening of cinemas to save jobs and the industry.
The top players had stated that the Maharashtra cinema exhibition industry has lost Rs 4,800 crore due to various lockdowns since March 2020 as they have suffered losses of almost Rs 400 crore per month.