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Bollywood back in action, but big screen movie releases fail to revive mood in film industry

Investors are not getting their returns, big Bollywood films are not releasing in theatres and filmmakers are rethinking about their big projects.

November 01, 2020 / 01:51 PM IST

You may have seen Twitter posts with pictures of actor John Abraham on sets of his upcoming film Satyameva Jayate 2 which is slated to release on Eid 2021.

Like John, there are many actors, directors, technicians who are back to work and are helping the film industry to keep the wheel turning.

But it looks like this won't be enough. And that's because investors are not getting their returns, work is getting slower because of the limitations in terms of number of people on a set and filmmakers are rethinking about their big projects.

Financiers are shying away from investing money in films. They are asking for reduction in star fees to make filmmaking more viable. Investors are looking to cut down their risks for upcoming projects especially when their money is stuck in older projects that aren't complete yet because of coronavirus-led lockdown.

Film trade analysts are saying bigger the star, bigger will be the salary reduction.


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But, stars are not ready to take pay cuts. In fact, some of the actors are asking for more money but for films that are releasing on OTT.

Now, this means that both filmmakers and producers are still banking on the OTT medium instead of theatres despite the reopening of cinemas.

This means more struggle for the exhibition space which is already under pressure due to the dearth of content especially big films.

Occupancy in theatres is currently hovering around the five to seven percent range.

Big films are waiting for audiences to come to the theatres in large numbers. But that will happen when major markets reopen.

While it is a relief for theatres that cinemas will reopen in Tamil Nadu from November 10, in Maharashtra one of the biggest markets for the exhibition space theatres will remain shut until the end of November.

With theatres in Maharashtra remaining shut, the box office business will continue to remain under pressure.

This is why filmmakers who had announced big projects are waiting to start work and now are giving a second thought whether they want to go ahead with the project. And this too is not a good sign because theatres need tentpole films.

The struggle Indian film industry is facing is what many other film markets across the globe are facing.

The UK has once again asked theatres to shut down for a month. Malaysia's largest cinema operator, Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC), will keep the shutters down for November.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Nov 1, 2020 01:51 pm

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