NEW DELHI :
Hollywood is not giving up on the covid-19 summer just yet. Having lined up at least two big films, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, for as early as July, the American film industry is hoping for revival as theatres reopen in a staggered manner across the world. This will be followed by Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 in August.
Unlike Bollywood that depends majorly on the domestic market, Hollywood films look at global releases. And seems like most of the world is ready for its offerings.
“The dependence of Hollywood on the US has gone down in recent years," said Mohan Umrotkar, CEO, Carnival Cinemas adding that about 60% of Hollywood box office comes from international territories. “They have some major release windows in a year, around peak summer in April, then August and around Christmas in December."
According to a report by Variety magazine, UK cinemas should reopen by early July, with a 60-page document, titled Our Plan to Rebuild setting out that cinemas are part of a “high-risk" group of businesses that will be the last to reopen alongside personal care businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons, hospitality venues such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation and public places such as places of worship. Previously, exhibitors and industry organisations such as the U.K. Cinema Association (UKCA), which represents more than 90% of the U.K.’s cinema operators, were proposing a late June reopening date to the government.
In the US, cinemas are reopening on a state-by-state basis with Georgia opening some from late April and Texas following suit on 1 May. Like restaurants, movie theatres have been allowed to seat only 25% of their listed capacity with theatres showing older films at nominal prices.
One of the first countries to impose lockdown measures, Italy has allowed cinemas to reopen from 15 June with capacity limited to 200 people per room. Masks are compulsory with social distancing measures including staggered seating and online booking having been introduced. Countries like Greece, Hong Kong and Denmark have also allowed cinemas to reopen.
China, the epicenter of the pandemic, is yet to announce a date for reopening after cinemas opened mid-March but were forced to close again.
Indian films still depend on the domestic market for a major chunk of their earnings. According to the Ficci-EY media and entertainment industry report 2020, more than Rs. 115 billion of the Rs. 191 billion that filmed entertainment made in 2019, came from domestic theatricals.
While the Multiplex Association of India has submitted a set of safety and hygiene guidelines to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, there is no clarity on when theatres will finally reopen. Earlier this week, PVR Cinemas predicted a staggered opening mid-July onward.
“A lot of films have bunched up together which are ready and even post-production is over so I believe they will start releasing July 15 onward," PVR chairman Ajay Bijli was quoted as saying according to media reports.
Umrotkar had added that apart from the domestic market, even the partial reopening of crucial overseas territories such as the US and the Middle East where large sections of the diaspora resides, will be helpful, for the Indian movie industry.