As the content pipeline remains starved of new offerings, especially from Bollywood, almost 2,000 cinema screens across India could shut shop permanently over the next few weeks. Bollywood doesn’t seem to release any new films till people begin to step out and return to theatres. According to many trade experts, independently owned single screens see no hope in clinging on to the business. This is because many film-makers and top actors, who owe much of their fame and stardom to small-towns, have taken over 24 Hindi films directly to video streaming platforms over the past few months. Apart from this, due to the rise in infections, most audiences in metros and urban areas have been wary of stepping out.
Moreover, most audiences in metros and urban areas have been wary of stepping out owing to the surge in infections. Already bad news has begun trickling in. Last week, five single-screen cinemas in Hyderabad—Galaxy, Sri Rama, Shanti, Amba, and Sree Mayuri—closed down. According to a Mint report, approx, due to the absence of fresh content and mounting costs on sanitization and disinfecting, 45% of India’s movie screens chose to not reopen even after government permits came in early October. As of now, Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and sports drama ’83 have both been scheduled for the first half of 2021.
In Bihar, only 45 out of the 200 theatres have restarted operations since government permits came in but many are planning to shut shop permanently. About five firms have already sold their properties. Some owners have approached banks for loans to renovate their cinemas. However, their requests were declined and were told there was no hope for the cinema business. According to the Ficci media and entertainment report 2020, as of 2019, India has 9,527 movie screens including 6,327 single screens and 3,200 multiplexes.