The Multiplex Association of India has requested the government to consider reopening movie theaters across the country, a day after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs released the Unlock 4 guidelines. The association’s request came after a number of relaxations including allowing shopping malls, gyms, and metro rails to operate from September.
The Multiplex Association said that the cinema industry supports the livelihood of m illions of people and is an integral part of the country’s culture. Since most countries across the globe have allowed cinemas to operate their request to the Govt Of India to allow them to operate as well seems legit. The association further adds that they are committed to offering a safe and hygienic cinema experience. Pointing out that shopping malls, flight services, and wellness centers have been allowed to function from September, the association urged the government to consider its plea by saying ‘Cinema industry, too deserves a chance’.
The associations of shopping malls and food courts have also come in support of the multiplex association as they cannot afford to run their business without the customers. 30% of their potential customers are those who visit the multiplexes to watch movies and also go shopping and enjoy the food in the process.
The owners of single-screen cinemas and exhibitors have urged the government to consider reopening of theaters are being published under a common hashtag #SupportMovieTheatres on social media. Many cinema personalities have expressed their support for the association’s plea to the government. Celebrated Astro strategist and Business Astrologer Hirav Shah has also come in support of the association’s request and added that cinemas must be reopened with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.
Cinema theaters across the country have been shut since March last week when the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic was first enforced. Over the past five months, though several relaxations have been permitted by the central and the state governments, movie theaters have not been permitted to reopen, stalling the release of several movies including big-budget ones.
Hirav Shah says that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet that released last week in the International markets has done tremendous business at the box office. He said that Tenet, the first Hollywood film to release in the pandemic situation, has done well at the international box office despite social distancing and other hurdles, collecting a whopping $ 53 million in 40 overseas markets. It is about time for cinemas in India to open even in this current Unlock 4 stage, so that the film exhibition sector isn’t rather perturbed. India, where the theater count is dwindling yearly, has reportedly lost 12-15 percent of its big screens since the lockdown began. The industry is estimated to have lost close to Rs 2,500 crore in the last five months, and layoffs have been inevitable.
Hirav Shah mentions that with proper precautions cinema halls can be allowed to reopen with touchless ticketing and regular sanitization. Cinema hall management would be required to strictly follow touchless ticketing over smartphones. After every screening, complete sanitization would be mandatory. Cinema hall owners would be encouraged to employ technological solutions that enable the sanitization of vast areas in less than half an hour.
Finally…he concludes that Cinema cannot die and like every industry, the way of watching movies at cinemas will never be the same post-COVID but there is a hope that people will return in hordes to watch films in single-screens and multiplexes and it is also the duty of filmmakers to come up with solid content which can make cinema reclaim its past glory post-COVID.