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COVID-19 impact: Fresh curbs a concern for big Bollywood release 83

Along with the Centre issuing new guidelines on COVID-19, various state governments have imposed restrictions, some even announcing night curfews. So far, states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have imposed curfew from 11 pm to 5 am.

December 24, 2021 / 06:35 PM IST

Fresh curbs on gatherings, stricter enforcement of COVID rules and the fear of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron could be a cause of concern for the new big Bollywood release 83, starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.

"Rising cases of Omicron and restrictions by various state governments are a concern for the film (83) as it could impact box office performance as these factors do affect audiences' impulse ticket buying behaviour," said film producer and trade business analyst Girish Johar.

Along with the Centre issuing new guidelines on COVID-19, various state governments have imposed restrictions, some even announcing night curfews. So far, states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have imposed a curfew from 11 pm to 5 am.

Johar said that if a curfew starts from 11 at night then shows slotted between 9 and 10 pm get impacted.

The absence of night shows can be a big dampener for the cinema business. According to film trade analysts and exhibitors, average occupancy for night and evening shows during weekends in pre-Covid times was 60-65 percent, while for blockbusters, it was close 80-85 percent.

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Analyst Karan Taurani, Senior Vice-President, Elara Capital, pointed out that restrictions will be a concern because the film which is expected to do business of around Rs 220-250 crore may see a negative impact and end up with collections at the lower end.

"Due to the Omicron situation 83 might see a fall of 15-20 percent," Taurani had said in an earlier interview to Moneycontrol. For 83, film trade experts had factored in strong box office numbers assuming that Maharashtra will allow 100 percent occupancy. However, theatres continue to operate at 50 percent capacity in the state.

While fresh curbs are a concern for the 83's performance,  Taurani and Johar are confident that the film will do well at the box office despite slow advance bookings.

"Advances are slightly below par than expectations but through word of mouth, the collections will be strong. So, day one business will be around Rs 15 crore and over the weekend it could collect around Rs 65-70 crore," said Taurani.

Johar explained that Hindi films have more over-the-counter ticket sales.

"Also, if you compare 83's advances with other films it is good and the film sold over 1 lakh tickets in advance bookings," he added.

But the advance bookings for Ranveer Singh-starrer 83 has seen more traction from multiplexes including PVRINOX and Cinepolis.

"It (traction for 83) will be skewed towards multiplexes and even the makers of the film are targeting multiplexes more than single screens," added Johar.

It is estimated that 83 has earned around Rs 10 crore in advances which is the highest for a Hindi film in times of COVID-19.

Overall, Taurani expects 83’s lifetime box office collection to breach Sooryavanshi’s Rs 180 crore collections. "It (83's business) will move towards Rs 240-260 crore due to demand during Christmas and New Year’s eve and compelling content. India has a huge fan following for cricket and that is going to drive audiences," he added.

The Kabir Khan directorial 83 is based on India's historic win in the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

A lot is riding on the box office performance of 83 especially with large-budget and tent-pole films that have fared well across genres helping the cinema business see a strong come-back.

Taurani thinks that it won't be surprising for cinema chains to achieve breakeven in December.



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Maryam Farooqui
first published: Dec 24, 2021 06:35 pm
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