Post terror attacks, theatres to see losses

Written by Pritha Mitra Dasgupta | Updated: Nov 29 2008, 06:54am hrs
The entertainment industry is expected to be hit hard by the aftermath of the terror attack in Mumbai. While film producers are going ahead with their releases, exhibitors are certain that occupancy levels will be very low, not only in Mumbai but across the country.

Films which released on November 28 include Sorry Bhai, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, and The President is Coming.

Ranjan Singh, general manager and head of marketing, PVR Pictures, said, "Theatres were totally closed in Mumbai on Thursday and Friday. In this situation, it is very difficult to quantify the total amount of loss. But as per my estimate, it is around Rs 3-4 lakh per multiplex per day."

Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, said, "We are going ahead with the release of our movie Oye Lucky Lucky Oye on November 28, as per our original plan. The movie released in the US on Wednesday, in the Middle East on Thursday and in India on Friday. In Mumbai, of course, we will strictly adhere to the decision of regulatory authorities with regard to screenings in cinema halls."

"Even after terrorists are flushed out, it will take some time for people to gain confidence and venture out of their homes," added Ranjan Singh of PVR.

Meanwhile, Big Cinemas, the theatre chain belonging to the Reliance Anil Ambani Group (ADAG), resumed operations on Friday after remaining shut on Thursday.

Tushar Dhingra, COO, Big Cinemas, said, "There will be a short-term slump. However, with the kind of resilience Mumbaikars have shown in the past, we are hoping that things will get back to normal soon."

He also added that for the last 8-9 months, Big Cinemas has been working with authorities and has been on high alert. "We will continue to be vigilant and will have all safety measures in place for our guests," he said.

Of late, owing to reasons like competition from the Indian Premier League (IPL), films have been bombing at the box office. Film exhibitors have been facing a slowdown in business quarter on quarter since the beginning of 2008. All hopes now wrest on big releases like Ghajini, Rab Ne Banadi Jodi, scheduled in the last few weeks of 2008.

With terror attacks hitting Mumbai, it is expected that the entire country, especially metros, will be on high alert, and exhibitors will face tough times ahead.

Among earlier releases, Dasvidaniya got a poor opening and grossed Rs 1 crore net in its first week. Deshdrohi is a success in Bihar, but poor elsewhere.

In week one, the film did business worth Rs 70 lakhs. Dostana has done well at multiplexes in the metros. The film grossed around Rs 25 crore in week one and is going steady in Mumbai, Delhi/NCR and Bangalore. Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi is steady at places in Bihar and Rajasthan. The highest grosser so far has been Golmaal Returns, which has garnered Rs 52.50 crore.