The COVID-19 virus outbreak has caught the country’s entertainment industry off guard with multiplexes shutting down across several states and big releases like Sooryavanshi getting postponed. Analysts expect the revenues to dip by 20-25 per cent in the March quarter compared to the previous one.
One of the most awaited releases, Angrezi Medium, which featured the return of ailing actor Irrfan Khan, managed to collect only Rs 4.03 crore on its opening day last Friday. Trade analysts like Taran Adarsh said the film’s business had been severely affected because of the closure of cinema halls in several states
According to sources, the box office collections of Angrezi Medium dropped by 25 per cent on Saturday. The film has done business mostly in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana. Tiger Shroff starrer Baaghi 3, too, has seen a similar drop in numbers on Saturday.
Theatres have been asked to shut down in major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. Karnataka, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Goa are also following the same.
A multiplex chain owner said there were around 3,000 screens in India. At present, more than 50 per cent of multiplexes are closed and he expected more to follow suit. There are around 6,600 single screens in the country. SBICAP Securities had noted in a recent report highlighting that single screens had seen a negative CAGR of 4 per cent in the past nine years. These are also shutting down, making it unviable for production houses to release their movies.
Sources said Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Films’ upcoming biopic on Kapil Dev, 83 is also getting postponed. “At least 20-days of March would see no business for the multiplex owners. This would mean 20-25 per cent loss on a sequential basis,” said a Mumbai-based media analyst. Box office revenues in Q3 were around Rs 453 crore for PVR, while its total revenues were at Rs 924 crore. Inox had posted revenues of Rs 518 crore for the same.
While the listed firms did not wish to comment on revenue loss, they admitted business was seriously impacted.
Inox Group Director Siddhath Jain said, “We are optimistic that big releases will bring people back to cinema halls. It is not just Sooryavanshi, but movies like Gulabo Sitabo and Gunjan Saxena will also play an important role in bringing the cinema routine to normalcy, whenever they get released.”
Multiplexes are expecting the government to help the industry after the scare is over, he said. “I am hopeful that we will come out with some plan sooner or later to alleviate the sector. This is a very important sector of the economy,” he said.