Across India, cinema theatres are functioning full house from mid-October onwards, including the key markets of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka. For the record, India would produce over 2,000 movies pa pre-pandemic of which around 1,000 would be in Hindi language, followed by 300 each in Tamil and Telugu while the others would constitute the rest. During 2020 and 2021, the total theatrical releases have been less than 500 across languages with several top Actors and Production houses taking up the OTT route with direct releases or an immediate release on OTT after theatrical.
In Hindi, Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi released on Deepavali day across India and the world. In Tamil, Superstar Rajinikanth’s Annaatthhe (meaning Elder Brother) released across 700 screens in India and worldwide. The film is said to have grossed over 70 Crores on the opening day, 4 Nov. 2021 worldwide, of which half of it was in Tamil Nadu. Over the 4-day weekend, Annatthhe is said to have grossed over Rs. 175 Crores worldwide, 80% of it in India and over 60% in Tamil Nadu only. Sooryavanshi, on the other hand is said to have grossed Rs. 77 Crores during the three day weekend in India. Analysts have been tracking the film exhibition business over the past few days and have sent some very positive news to the ailing Industry which employs over 10 million people in India, directly and indirectly.
While most of the Deepavali film collections have come from the standalone theatres, which stood at 8,000+ screens all India, Multiplexes are not far behind as well. Inox, PVR, Carnival and a few other organised players together operate over 2,000 screens in India and have reported positive collections for both the festival releases. It is said that at least 1,000 standalone screens across India have shut down permanently due to the ongoing pandemic, given that the maintenance costs for a non-operational theatre is much more than when it is being operational. Still, the audience have been thronging to the screens unmindful of the potential spread of the coronavirus. Perhaps, this could be due to the fact that 90% of the eligible population has already taken the Vaccine atleast once, while half of them have taken both dosages. Inox and PVR Cinemas are offering various consumer offers on Food & Beverage, to drive non-Cinema revenues.
Multiplexes in Malls are a key driver of footfalls to the Malls, which also convert in to customers at Food courts and Restaurants. Shopping for fashion, apparel and footwear become incidental, given that the entire activity is seen as a day-out or an evening outing for middle class Indians. The latest film releases have sent a positive shock wave across the Film Exhibition business, with a potential bumper season ahead with a slew of releases in the pipeline, despite many mid-size films preferring the D2C route through OTT platforms. If the current trend continues, the trio of Multiplex-Malls-Shopping is headed for a massive revival in the next six months.