The Centre has greenlit the reopening of cinemas from October 15 as part of the Unlock 5.0 plan. According to the directive, theatres will be allowed to operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity while adhering to the safety guidelines.
The news brought cheer in the exhibition and distribution sectors that have borne losses of Rs 1,500 crore every month since the shutdown was imposed on March 14.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says, “We are hoping that state governments will act at the earliest to ensure there are no more job losses in our sector. A 50 per cent occupancy cap is a good starting point. Hopefully, the government will relax it further later this year.” Rathi adds that theatres are likely to screen earlier blockbusters as filmmakers plan the line-up of new movies, which includes Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, and Death on the Nile.
However, fans will have to wait longer to witness a Bollywood spectacle play out on the big screen. The makers of Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi — one of the few films that did not bite the OTT bait — have deferred its November 14 release.
“It’s not practical to release Sooryavanshi on Diwali because we don’t know whether cinemas in major states are opening yet. The state governments of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have announced that their cinema halls will remain shut this month. So, it will be fair to assume that most states will open up only by December 1,” says Shibasish Sarkar, chief executive officer, Reliance Entertainment group.
Ranveer Singh in 83
The studio, which had announced a Christmas outing for Ranveer Singh’s 83, has yet to determine the release calendar. “Once the country opens up, we don’t want to hold off the films for too long. We may or may not change the release date of 83. We haven’t had a discussion with the directors [Rohit Shetty and Kabir Khan] yet. I am assuming both films will hit screens between December 2020 and March 2021.”
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