Lock-down Effect: Coronavirus pandemic threatens the existence of single screen theatres, to become obsolete soon!

In the corona-virus induced lock-down, the worst hit industry has been Theatres and Cineplexes. Unlike Europe and U.S.A where theatres have resumed their operations and film-makers are moving ahead with the releases, Indian theatres are still in trouble.

Even when the government has announced the ‘Unlock-1’ phase, theatres are speculated to be shut till October of this year and even if they somehow resume operations, the footfalls are questionable!
In this row, the analysts and trade pundits are most worried about single screen theatres which are in troubled waters as the expenditures faced by them is a huge sum. They do not have any support from the government nor from the film industry and most of the single screens are on the edge of permanent shut down.

On this, Mid-Day reported, trade analyst Akshaye Rathi worries “about 250 to 300 single screens may be wiped out”. He has been quoted as saying, “There’s no support from any quarter, be it from the film industry or the government. By October, the number of theatres downing its shutters may touch 1000-plus.”
In the same report, he further continued, even though operations will resume, the expenditure will be way higher than the revenue generated, adding that they will witness high footfalls only when big-ticket offerings hit the marquee.

According to the same report by Mid-Day, Manoj Desai, executive director, Gaiety-Galaxy, argues that the government has offered little relief. “The government should do away with GST. We are paying the property tax, BMC tax and electricity charges. Ideally, these should be excused for the moment.” Also, the report suggests that the theatre owners’ expenses are rising with no revenue to offset the expenditures incurring from maintenance charges, rent and staff salaries.

Three landmark movie halls — Shanthala and Padma in Mysuru, and Maharani in Chennai — have bitten the dust in the past three months. There is a huge list of single screen theatres who have faced the wrath of pandemic and the future seems dark if the unlock of theatres doesn’t happen soon and if footfalls records to be lower than expected.