Owing to the current pandemic, the landscape of cinema worldwide has changed. With cinemas set to reopen in India on 15th October, the question on the audience’s mind is: what will the cinemas release?
In a video titled ‘Kyun agle saal phir cinema bandh hone ka darr hai?’, uploaded on 19th September on his YouTube channel, Industry’s film trade expert Komal Nahta had said that an acute shortage of films might be experienced because a number of films had been committed for the premiere on streaming platforms, and also because film shootings, which had come to a halt from March this year, might not revive very soon in view of the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country. While what will pan out in the country is yet to be seen, the announcement by the British cinema chain, Cineworld, about a likely temporary shutdown is indicative of what may be in store in India too, going forward. Cineworld, the world’s second-biggest cinema chain, is considering shutting down screens in the USA, UK, and Ireland temporarily, thanks to the postponement of the release of the James Bond film No Time To Die and other films.
He shares, “While it is clear that producers of big-budgeted films will wait and watch whether people are returning to the cinemas in large numbers before they announce the release dates, the trade expects multiplexes and single-screen cinemas to fall back upon Hollywood films, their dubbed versions, regional films and those films, the runs of which were abruptly cut short in March due to the lockdown. According to an insider, Tenet is ready to hit the screens in India and it has been so since two months. Not just the original English version but the Hindi and South language dubbed versions are also ready.”
“Our exhibitors have to wake up and smell the coffee. If exhibitors do not work in tandem with producers, film and cinema business won’t last for too long. Every constituent has to make profits and remain in good financial health if an industry is to survive and thrive.” He concludes, “If multiplexes remain stubborn and insist on not changing their rigid revenue-sharing terms, the option of going to OTT platforms is always available to studios and producers. In the long run, it will be the exhibition sector which will lose out.”
Nahta puts weight on the fact that with the current pandemic, the Cinema business in India is likely to go for a toss sooner than expected. He first highlights, Cineworld a foreign cinema chain going to a temporary shutdown as the audience is still shying away from a movie time at the cinemas. Elaborating on how OTT has given a sense of comfort to the audience and brought cinemas to their homes, he rings an alarming bell for the exhibitors to rise and shine. While India plans to reopen cinemas on the 15th of October, 2020, the trade analyst thinks it is a far fetched reality given the long line of releases scheduled for various OTT platforms.