Maharashtra releases SOPs for theatres, 50% cap and no F&B inside auditoriums
SOPs include sanitizing auditoriums after every screening, regular cleaning and disinfection of box office and food and beverage area.
October 12, 2021 / 05:26 PM IST
Maharashtra government on October 12 released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for theatres in the state that will be reopening from October 22.
Cinemas in Maharashtra will operate at 50 percent seating capacity and they will have to follow checkered seating arrangement to maintain social distancing.
"Seats that are not to be occupied shall be marked as such during booking (for both online booking and at the box office sale of tickets)," the state government said in its SOP.
Theatres in Maharashtra will also restrict movie-goers from bringing food and beverages inside auditoriums. F&B will be allowed only outside movie halls.
Even in November last year, when the state had allowed theatres to reopen it had restricted F&B inside auditoriums. Moneycontrol had checked with exhibitors about the state's move and a top executive at a multiplex had pointed out that this would lead to more chaos as people will only have the option of eating in the lobby.
Exhibitors last year were in talks over the F&B restriction and the same could take place this year as well.
Rest of the SOPs include sanitizing auditoriums after every screening, regular cleaning and disinfection of box office and food and beverage area.
After a long COVID-induced pause, theatres are reopening in Maharashtra which is one of the biggest contributors to Bollywood box office collections with 25-30 percent share in the overall revenue of a Hindi film.
Top multiplexes PVR, INOX, Cinepolis, Carnival Cinemas and Miraj Cinemas are pinning their hopes for strong recovery on restarting business in the state.
Theatres reopening in Maharashtra led to many producers especially of Hindi films to announce release dates. This includes big ventures like Akshay Kumar's Sooryavanshi, Ranveer Singh's 83, among others.
Major markets have allowed theatres to reopen and content pipeline for theatrical release looks strong. This is why analysts expect recovery in the exhibition space in FY24 which may see revenue moving toward 110-120 percent versus pre-COVID levels.