According to industry estimates, the film industry has already lost Rs 1,000 crore post the implementation of nationwide lockdown
Eid-ul-Fitar holds a very important place among cinema lovers, especially in India. Almost every year the Khans take turns to release their movies on the big screen. Not to mention, actor Salman Khan leads the pack here – last year his film ‘Bharat’ was released. However, this year will be different due to the spread of the novel Coronavirus. With movie theatres having been shut for almost a month now, post the lockdown, there is a slim chance of the screens opening anytime soon. According to industry estimates, exhibition companies are expected to lose about 35% revenue that is about Rs 4,000 crore worth box office collection in 2020, when compared to the same period, last year. This does not include revenue earned from the sale of food and beverage. “Two films which were slated to released – Salman Khan’s Radhe and Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb, due to lockdown will not hit the theatres. Add to that the post-production remains incomplete. Combine this with the fact that nobody actually knows when theatres will be allowed to open, Eid will not yield the same return this year,” Taran Adarsh, film critic and trade analyst, said. According to Ficci-EY 2020 report, in 2019, the filmed entertainment segment grew 9.5% to Rs 11,500 crore (domestic box collection) because of increased domestic theatrical revenues and growth in both rates and volume of digital rights sold.
Nonetheless, exhibition companies are ready to open theatres with plans to follow all guidelines around maintaining social distance within the halls. This would mean a reduction of 40%-50% in occupancy. “We are keen to restart our operations, even if it is at a relatively smaller scale. We are also sure that once the hygiene measures are in place, people will come to the theatres,” Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure. In Q3, FY20 INOX Leisure generated nearly 55% that is, Rs 288 crore of its revenue came from ticket sales. The company’s result shows that food and beverage accounted for 25% – Rs 130 crores of the revenue, while advertisement amounted to about 12% – Rs 58 crores of the revenue and the rest 8% that is Rs 42 crore came from other sources.
Industry analysts are hopeful that exhibition firms would be able to recover somewhat of the losses between August to March 2021 – that is, if theatres begin to function at the end of July. This also means that Diwali and New Year will see some of the biggest releases this year. Traditionally too, film-makers have released big-budget movies during the festive season.“Diwali has always been a season of high footfall for the industry, and this year Diwali might just be the much-required spur for the industry. The push back of movies due to lockdown has ensured that we will have a good quality of content before, during and after Diwali,” Tandon added.
According to industry estimates, the exhibition business is believed to have incurred losses worth Rs 1,000 crore, so far, post the lockdown. “The industry will try to recover the loss in the latter part of the year as currently, the priority is to bring back consumers and restart the business,” Kapil Agarwal, JMD, UFO Moviez, said. Meanwhile, viewers are watching old sagas such as Ramayana and Mahabharat on Doordarshan besides binge-watching on OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Zee5, VOOT, among others.