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Coronavirus impact: Even new content finds few takers in theatres

The second day of reopening has been low key despite a new release. PVR's Hollywood offering My Spy has not drawn in the crowds.

October 18, 2020 / 10:26 PM IST

While on the first day of reopening, theatres were running only old content, day two saw a new release.

PVR Pictures on October 16 released My Spy starring David Bautista. However, the traction for the film has not been strong.

According to an executive at PVR Superplex in Bengaluru, "the film has not been marketed well which is why not many people are aware that a new film has been released."

The executive who doesn't wish to be named said that they are running two shows of My Spy out of the total 17 shows they are running on day one of reopening of PVR theatres.

While many theatres reopened on October 15, PVR dedicated the day to its employees and COVID warriors. The multiplex operator opened for the public on October 16.


"For the morning show, four tickets for My Spy were booked. We expect the number to go up for the evening show as footfalls increase for evening shows," he said. Word of mouth will help My Spy gain traction, he added.

Content has been a problem for exhibitors as new films, especially big Bollywood ventures, are unlikely to release any time soon due to theatres remaining shut in Mumbai, which is a big market in terms of box office collections.

Major markets like Mumbai and Delhi/UP circuit together constitute approximately 60 percent of the total box office collections for most Hindi films.

This is why films like Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi are not likely to release this year. The film's release has been pushed to January next year because of the staggered opening of theatres.

Makers of Tenet, the big Hollywood offering, have not announced the release of the film as they are waiting for the Mumbai market to open.

Dearth of new content has forced single-screen theatres to keep the shutters down as single-screen exhibitors say that old films will not find traction in their theatres.

However, at PVR Superplex, it is old content that is getting more traction from the movie-goers despite the release of a new film.

My Spy is the first new Hollywood release after seven months in Indian theatres. Theatres across the country have been shut since March due to the coronavirus-led lockdown. The central government gave theatres the go-ahead on September 30 to reopen from October 15.

Despite being a new Hollywood film, My Spy seems to have had a dull opening because not all theatres are running the movie.

For example, Carnival Cinemas has not screened the movie so far. And INOX has two shows across two of its properties in Bengaluru.

Girish Johar, film and trade business analyst, said My Spy has seen a restricted release, so the numbers in terms of bookings are low but things will improve over the weekend.

He added, "My Spy is a medium-size Hollywood venture. Plus, it is an urban Hollywood film, so the traction for the film will build slowly. Also, it is the first Friday release so people will know more about it over the weekend."

In terms of overall footfalls, PVR on its day one saw 20 tickets sold for the morning show. The number of tickets booked went up to 60-70 for the afternoon show.

"We expect to see around 100-110 ticket bookings for the evening show," the manager said.

At PVR Superplex in Bangalore, six screens have reopened so far out of the total nine screens. The number of shows has also come down to 17 from 50-55 shows in the pre-COVID times.

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Maryam Farooqui
first published: Oct 16, 2020 09:20 pm
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