In a bid to further ease lockdown restrictions, the Ministry of Home Affairs approved the opening of cinemas from 15 October to 50 percent of their seating capacity on Wednesday. A regular SOP for reopening cinema halls will be provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Of course, the change has been welcomed by the industry as it would be a great respite for multiplexes and the general film industry, which were among the first to be shut down in March as the country began recording cases of Covid-19. Over the last few months, when hundreds and thousands of livelihoods rely on it, many actors and key figures in the film industry have urged the government to reopen theatres. While film shooting had resumed earlier, multiplexes continued to be shut down.
In addition, as film directors chose the alternative route of OTT platforms such as Netflix and Hotstar to release their films, the already stressed film theatre industry was further aggravated. According to a report by Live Mint, in the six months when cinema halls remained closed, the theatrical industry suffered losses worth INR 3,000 crore across languages. The study further highlighted that because of the pandemic, the world has lost almost 12 percent of its movie screen count.
It is yet to be seen if people will venture out of their homes to watch movies in cinema halls, but multiplex chains are relieved by the news.
*Chain multiplexes Welcome Govt’s Move:-
Shortly after the government’s announcement, the Multiplex Association of India welcomed the decision in its statement. This announcement was eagerly anticipated by millions of movie lovers, employees of the cinema exhibition industry, along with the entire film industry. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation for their assistance and advice to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. As always, we will continue to give top priority to the health and well-being of our guests and staff, we are committed to ensuring a clean, safe, and hygienic cinema-going experience for our country’s movie lovers, ” the statement read. In order to enable the cinema exhibition sector to recover, the body also requested state governments to reopen cinemas in their states.
INOX Leisure Ltd, Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) Alok Tandon, said the decision has led to a great deal of hope not only for the film industry and its fans but also for the cinema exhibition staff and their families.
We are fully trained and prepared for the new normal, which will assign protection and hygiene the highest priority. Our hygiene and disinfection front preparations would set new standards for every public premises, whether within the auditorium or in our lobbies and F&B counters, ” he added.
We hope that state governments will now also send us the green signal and allow us to resume operations in compliance with the relevant guidelines. He said the announcement would encourage content manufacturers to schedule their launches, which could reinforce the content pipeline for the rest of the year.
At present, Inox has 147 multiplexes and 626 screens across 68 towns.
Welcoming the move, Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinepolis India, said, “In line with global best practices, we have introduced stringent safety protocols and are ready to welcome patrons back to a safe and secure world-class film experience.”
He also called on state governments to provide clearance in their respective states for cinemas to reopen.
Throughout the world, Cinepolis currently has 390 screens.Ko
In an interview with CNBC TV18, Ajay Bijli, PVR Chairman and Managing Director, said they had been shut down for seven months and had been in choppy water for some time. He appreciated the 50 percent capacity mark set by the state and said Maharashtra will reopen its theatres in a matter of time, as many restaurants are reopening.
There are currently 845 PVR screens throughout the world.
The Chief Operating Officer of BookMyShow ‘s famous ticketing site, Ashish Saksena, said the move would bring immense relief to thousands of employees across the industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by this pandemic.
As the category leader, BookMyShow recognizes that we are in exceptional times and, among other factors, is aware of social distancing and sanitization. From cine-goers to film partners, production houses, and execution companies, the health, and welfare of all will be of utmost importance and BookMyShow will uphold all SOPs as mandated for the healthy film-watching experience of our users.
Saksena added that they have worked closely with their cinema industry partners to establish initiatives for a secure and healthy film-watching experience and are delighted to welcome viewers back to the silver screens.
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