The outdoor cinema segment is expected to pick up in India as theatres remain shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies like PVR, INOX and Carnival are reportedly looking at drive-in cinemas in markets like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Kochi, among others.
However, PVR had been exploring the new concept even before the pandemic hit the country.
What can help these companies in the outdoor cinema segment is Harkness Screens’ new outdoor screen technology which is already available in Europe and America. They have launched a non-coated screen which is weatherproof.
Harkness Screens is a global screen technology company, manufacturing 2D and 3D digital projection screen surfaces for cinema.
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“The screen is priced at Rs 2,500 per square metre as a special promotion to help cinemas restart their business. We also did not want to make this expensive which could have made the business model unattractive,” Preetham Daniel, senior vice-president, Asia, Harkness Screens, told Moneycontrol.
But are cinema chains looking for outdoor screens?
“We have active enquires and are already working with the top cinema chains in the region (India) who are exploring and finalizing their business model on the outdoor cinema model. We have also sent them samples to evaluate, and we expect to start seeing some orders in mid-September,” said Daniel.
Drive-in cinemas in markets like Bengaluru are showing old films like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Chak De.
“With social distancing rules and the fear of mingling with crowds, we do foresee this model (outdoor) to pick up in India. We have good outdoor spaces with large parking lots in and around the cities in India. This is a new experience for the customers, and we think this will pick up pace as the lockdown rules begin to relax in the country,” he said.
Daniel added that while in international markets weather is a challenge for outdoor cinema screening, “India has good climatic conditions compared to places in Europe which has snow and other extreme climates.”According to him, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Nagpur, Chandigarh Chennai, Vijayawada, Hyderabad are most preferred places for outdoor cinema.