With Omicron suspending new movie releases in 2022, the shattered industry is looking at further losses

Jersey, RRR, Radhe Shyam Poster. (Photo credit: Twitter / shahidkapoor, RRR, PrabhasRaju)

Jersey, RRR, Radhe Shyam Poster. (Photo credit: Twitter / shahidkapoor, RRR, PrabhasRaju)

The list of big-ticket movies that are closing theaters or running at 50 percent capacity is growing every day.

Titles to be released this month include SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj, Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey, Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam and Ajith Kumar’s Tamil action drama Valimai. Infectious disease. But the rise of omiciron, the high-spreading Kovid variant, paid off for all plans, much to the dismay of industry insiders.

No one expected the situation to escalate so quickly, said jersey maker Aman Gill, who postponed the release of his film on December 31 three days earlier. The sharp rise in Kovid cases has brought the industry back to reset mode, he said.

“It’s like we all did before Diwali last year. No one knows when things will get better and how things will change in the coming days and months,” Gill told PTI.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh ​​acknowledged that restrictions in several states and rising numbers could lead to no films being released in February.

“This is a situation that will have to wait and see. Now, the release date for January has been rescheduled and nothing is known about February and March,” Adarsh ​​told PTI.

The success of Akshay Kumar’s Suryavanshi and the Hollywood superhero’s promising “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Rs 202 crore), which grossed Rs 195 crore, is expected to continue into the New Year.

But that did not happen.

The increase in the number of cases led to the closure of theaters in Delhi for the third time in March 2020 after Kovid. In states like Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, the shows are running at 50 per cent capacity.

On Wednesday, the producers of Radhe Shyam, a multilingual period drama starring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde, officially postponed the release of Pan India, which was scheduled for January 14.

The statement said that there was no other option but to postpone the release of the period action Telugu film Rise Roar Revolt (RRR) starring South Indian actors Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr.

“As theaters in many Indian states are closing, we have no choice but to ask you to hold on to your passion. We promise to bring back the glory of Indian cinema and we will do it at the right time,” the RRR producers said.

The decision to postpone the release was not an easy one as the film’s promotions had already started, said Jayanthilal Gada, CMD and presenter, Pen India Limited.

“The decision was made after much deliberation and consideration. Given the increase in cases, it is important to save lives and control the situation,” said Gada, who also co-hosted John Abraham’s January release, Attack, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. -Director Gangubhai Katyawadi, told PTI.

The problems may not end even if Kovid Graf goes down.

“The goal is to reduce the number of cases and get back to normal soon, so we can start a movie business and get movies in theaters. But it’s definitely going to hit the box office. Back releases,” Gada said.

No new films have been released since December 24 last year.

According to Akshay Rathi, a leading distributor of cinemas in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, filing a complaint is not an option.

“We need to take this in stride and realize that there is a wave that is going to disrupt business across the region.

“We hope the business will not stagnate … Restarting from a completely closed situation can be extremely painful and financially exhausting,” he added.

The release of some of the films including Jersey, RRR and Prithviraj has been postponed earlier and insiders fear that further delays will add to the cost of interest.

“Everyone is losing money because interest rates are soaring. There is no solution. Some movies are waiting to be released in theaters, some are not waiting with profit and loss situations in mind,” said filmmaker Gill. Enter a number for the loss so that it can be found after release.

Describing the situation as strategic and unpredictable, the jersey maker cited the U.S. example, saying that despite the increase in COVID-19 cases, people there are not afraid because of their “mild” nature.

“In India, we do not know what the impact will be. We are cautious,” he said.

Not only the producers but also the film distributors and exhibitors will be at a loss.

Raj Bansal, a multiplex owner from Jaipur, said the industry was on the verge of recovery after huge losses over the past one and a half years.

“Through the business of movies like Suryavanshi, Spider-Man …, Pushpa, it felt like a good return to normal. We felt we were on the right track. We were struggling to get into recovery mode and now the losses will continue,” he added.

In the midst of darkness, there is also the optimism that a turning point will soon occur.

“Uncertainty remains everywhere. As we go down the path of the virus in South Africa, we see it settling down quickly. We hope it won’t take more than a month or two to cover up the dust. We can go back and do business as before,” said distributor Rati.

The entire film industry is pointing fingers that this will definitely happen.

According to the Union Ministry of Health, India on Friday added 1,17,100 new corona virus infections, bringing the total number of Kovid cases in India to 3,52,26,386.

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