Cinemas reopen with same old flicks

  • Bollywood doesn’t see value in releasing new films immediately, and Hollywood too has pushed several titles out of the release calendar this year.

Lata Jha
Updated17 Oct 2020
Tanhaji is one of the old hits that are being screened now.
Tanhaji is one of the old hits that are being screened now.

Cinemas braced for a rough ride this weekend after the first day of reopening, with no new movies to show audiences anywhere except in West Bengal.

New Bengali-language movies are set to hit the screens in keeping with an annual Durga Puja tradition. But elsewhere, owners have to make do with old hits to try and restart the business.

Such offerings include Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Thappad, Good Newwz, Housefull 4, Chhichhore and Dream Girl.

Bollywood doesn’t see value in releasing new films immediately, and Hollywood too has pushed several titles out of the release calendar this year. It is considering only the second half of 2021 and beyond to try and woo audiences back.

Warner Bros, for instance, has moved superhero film The Batman from April 2021 to March 2022, The Matrix 4 to December 2021, while another superhero film Black Adam does not have a release date now after originally being slated for December 2021.

Universal Pictures too has delayed its science-fiction adventure franchise Jurassic World: Dominion to June 2022, from the summer of 2021. Sony Pictures has shuffled a few of its upcoming releases, such as Escape Room 2, which has been bumped to an unknown date in 2021 from December 2020.

The new James Bond film, No Time to Die—expected to bring audiences back in the first phase of reopening—has been pushed from November 2020 to April 2021.

The latest move comes on the back of a spate of delays announced earlier—Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick was pushed from June to December and then slated for July 2021, while horror flick A Quiet Place Part II will premiere in April 2021 instead of September 2020.

“Top markets for (Christopher Nolan’s) Tenet and (Disney’s) Mulan haven’t performed up to expectations of the makers,” film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar tweeted about the only two high-profile Hollywood films to have hit the screens in the past few weeks.

“Hollywood is pretty much sure of audiences being scared and is moving all major releases to 2021; so, 2020 is a wipeout,” he added.

The absence of big-ticket Hollywood offerings is not good news for India where local producers are not keen to release new films immediately—in case they haven’t already been acquired by video streaming platforms.

In an article for movie portal Film Information, trade analyst Komal Nahta said a lot of cinemas around India won’t open their doors this weekend due to a lack of content.

However, P.V. Sunil, MD at Carnival Cinemas, struck a note of optimism. “We were shut for seven months, but at least, we are open now,” he said. “It will be a challenge to run the show, but we shall make whole-hearted efforts.”

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