Movie theatres in India are gradually opening up after being shut for over seven months due to the pandemic. But we are yet to see any big budget Hindi movie releasing in theatres. Multiplexes have resumed operations with several restrictions and SOPs in place, so the post-Covid movie watching experience is surely different.
The mood of uncertainty induced by the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. At such a time, one of the most awaited Hollywood films of the year, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, opens in theatres today.
Films like Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari (Hindi), Biskoth (Tamil), Irandam Kuththu (Tamil), Dracula Sir (Bengali) and ACT-1978 (Kannada) have released in theatres in the past few weeks. But Tenet is the first big film in terms of director, budget and anticipation to get a theatrical release after the seven-month shutdown.
BookMyShow says the advance ticket sales already show that the film will bring back a big chunk of the audience to the halls. “The advance ticket sales for the film reflect the pent-up demand from audiences across the country. With an IMAX format and English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions, Tenet is undoubtedly the biggest release in the current times. The film has been one of the most anticipated releases of 2020, and the advance booking trends with some cinemas already running houseful are a testament to cinema being one of the most preferred formats of out-of-home entertainment,” informs Ashish Saksena, COO - Cinemas, BookMyShow.
The film’s director himself, in a video message addressed to viewers in India, emphasized on the importance of watching the film on the big screen. And the cinema exhibition industry is banking on this big screen appeal of Nolan’s film to attract audiences who have been forced to watch movies at home so far.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “The trends so far show that people are ready to come out of their houses to watch a movie if they find it worth their money, if it is a film with a big maker or actor. It has to be worth the risk. From what I have been told by Warner Bros, Tenet is opening in about 1000 screens, and an opening day earning of Rs 4-5 crore can be expected.”
Multiplex chain PVR confirms that advance bookings for the film reflect an upward trend. The big release promises an immersive experience and has already gained significant interest by seeing scores of advance bookings, and the theatres are gearing up to welcome large crowds again.
Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, says, “Big films like Tenet will increase occupancy and garner footfalls, and would further provide a great out of home experience for our patrons who were forced to stay in the confines of their homes for months. Our priority at the moment is to ensure the safety and security of our customers and employees by strictly adhering to all the safety protocols and guidelines laid down by the government and the global standards defined by the Global Cinema Federation.”
Atul Mohan says that the release of Tenet will also give confidence to Indian producers about taking their films to theatres, as opposed to selling them to streaming services. Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi, Kabir Khan’s ’83 and Salman Khan’s Radhe are some of the film’s whose releases dates have been pushed due to the pandemic.
“Nothing can replace the charm of watching a movie in a theatre. Producers make movies for the big screen. Nobody had expected the pandemic, but everyone is hopeful that in the next 2-3 months the pending films will also release. The advance booking trends for Tenet show that the audience is keen to watch film in theatres, so hopefully from January onwards we will see a good flow of big budget movies,” he adds.