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Multiplex body urges Delhi government to reopen cinemas as bankruptcy worries loom

Multiplex Association of India informed deputy chief minister of bankruptcies facing cinemas in the face of multiple lockdowns induced by Covid since March 2020.

December 30, 2021 / 02:28 PM IST
Down south, 70-year old Lakshmi Theatre and Shree Nagaraja theatre in Mysuru have been added to the list of theatres that are winding up operations. (Representative image)

Down south, 70-year old Lakshmi Theatre and Shree Nagaraja theatre in Mysuru have been added to the list of theatres that are winding up operations. (Representative image)

 
 
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Multiplex Association of India today urged the deputy chief minister to reopen cinemas in Delhi locked down since Tuesday over a yellow alert sounded for coronavirus.

The body, which represents 80 percent of the multiplex industry in India, informed Manish Sisodia of the bankruptcies facing cinemas in the face of multiple lockdowns induced by Covid since March 2020. 

The latest shutdown in Delhi has postponed and cancelled a lot of releases. Multiplex Association of India added that Jersey, a big film which was to roll out tomorrow, is now being considered for a direct-to-OTT (over the top) platform release. 

"Instead of releasing their films at cinemas or waiting for the restrictions to relax, producers are finding it more lucrative to sell their films to streaming platforms (OTT services) leaving cinemas with no new films to show," the body said.

"Other films to be released in January are likely to announce the cancellation of their release dates soon," added Multiplex Association of India.

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"With zero revenues in eight months (13 March 2020 till 9 November 2020), and meagre revenues in the next five months (9 November 2020 till 31 March 2021), followed by zero revenues during the second shutdown (April till 25 July 2021), the cinema exhibition industry is now facing bankruptcies,” the body said.

It added that the cinema exhibition sector is a critical part of the film industry, directly employing lakhs of people and contributing to indirect employment for millions.

Multiplex Association of India pointed out that there’s little evidence establishing cinemas as a source of Covid outbreaks.

“We would urge the Delhi government to consider introducing a double vaccination requirement to enter cinemas, as is the case in some other states. Alternatively, the seating capacity restriction of 50 percent can be reintroduced at cinemas,” said Ajay Bijli, chairman of PVR.

Sisodia assured that the matter would be taken up with Delhi Disaster Management Authority Task Force and other government officers, said Multiplex Association of India.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Dec 30, 2021 02:13 pm
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