Coronavirus trouble for cinema far from over! Majority of film goers still unwilling to visit halls, says survey

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Updated: Oct 27, 2020 6:28 PM

About three fourth or 74 percent of the surveyed individuals clearly stated that they would not be visiting a cinema hall anytime soon.

Some states exercising caution had not yielded to the demands of the cinema industry to allow the opening of theatres including Maharashtra and Odisha.Some states exercising caution had not yielded to the demands of the cinema industry to allow the opening of theatres including Maharashtra and Odisha.

After remaining shut for close to six months in view of the Coronavirus pandemic and finally allowed to resume their business in mid October, the trouble for theatre owners and workers associated with the cinema industry don’t appear to be ending anytime soon. If the recent survey conducted by the LocalCircles is anything to go by, the biggest obstacle before the industry is to convince people to step out of their homes and enter the cinema theatres. According to the survey, only 7 percent of the people surveyed are willing to go to watch a film in theatres, the Indian Express reported.

Most of the state governments including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan among others had allowed the functioning of cinema halls at 50 percent seating capacity from October 15. Some states exercising caution had not yielded to the demands of the cinema industry to allow the opening of theatres including Maharashtra and Odisha.

The survey which talked to about 8,274 individuals across the country found that only four percent of the respondents were willing to go to the cinema if a new film of their choice is released in theatres. Another 3 per cent respondents however responded excitedly and said they would visit a cinema regardless of any new film getting released in theatres. About three fourth or 74 percent of the surveyed individuals clearly stated that they would not be visiting a cinema hall anytime soon. A small section of about 2 percent respondents were unsure of their future stance while another 17 percent respondents said that they did not watch films in theatres.

The stance of the audience comes despite several physical distancing and sanitisation measures being implemented by the industry to boost the confidence of the audience. Cinepolis, DLF Avenue’s assistant manager, Arpit Srivastava told the Indian Express that several decisions were taken to ensure the safety of the audience which includes serving food outside the theatre halls in addition to encouraging cashless transactions.

Delhi’s PVR Cinemas also has taken several measures ranging from QR code-enabled food menu,compulsory masks, to distanced seating and UV-sterilised packaging. However, the audience does not seem to be in a mood to bite the bullet. Gagan Kapur, Regional Head, PVR Cinemas, Delhi told the Indian Express that almost every touchpoint in the cinema hall has been filmed with anti-microbial chemicals along with intense sanitisation measures being undertaken at regular intervals.

Some of the major theatre owners are relying on playing old films during the initial period. Rajeev Patni, COO of INOX Leisure Ltd told the Indian Express that library content is being played in the initial period. He also said the shows are being run for limited slots to boost the confidence of the audience and ensure proper sanitisation measures at the theatres. He further said that as soon as the number of audience starts increasing and new content and films are released, the theatres will gear towards running all shows during the day.

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