NEW DELHI :
India is in for some good news as American studios have postponed the release of top movie titles from July to August. This comes even as the country was likely to miss the first flush of big Hollywood releases after their worldwide theatrical reopening.
Warner Bros has decided to delay Christopher Nolan’s Tenet a second time. The film was initially slated to arrive in theatres on 17 July, but this was postponed to 31 July and now again to 12 August. Warner has also delayed the re-release of Nolan’s sci-fi blockbuster Inception, in honour of its 10th anniversary, from 10 to 31 July.
Disney has delayed the release of its action drama Mulan. The film, originally set to open on 27 March, was pushed to 24 July and is now slated for a 21 August release.
Had Hollywood stuck to their original release dates, India would have missed the first bunch of global movie offerings to have hit screens post the covid-19 lockdown.
“With malls having reopened, we were expecting some sort of government direction in June," said Mohan Umrotkar, chief executive, Carnival Cinemas. It is unfortunate that, that didn’t happen, he said. Most theatre owners expect some announcement by the first or second week of July, after which they say they need seven to 10 days to resume operations with full sanitization and safety measures.
Film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar pointed out that while several cinemas in North America, the UK, Europe, Australia and the UAE have reopened, Hollywood is still missing a chunk of the business from Asia, especially China and India.
The absence of these markets would mean a 25-30% dent in box office collections.
“India is definitely one of the top 10 Hollywood markets across the world and it is metros like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurugram with the highest number of cases that bring in most returns," Johar said.
In 2019, Hollywood, with a combination of spectacular superhero movies and smaller budget, softer films, notched up box office collections of nearly ₹1,225 crore in India, several notches above the ₹900-950 crore and the ₹800-850 crore earned by it in the country in 2018 and 2017 respectively. Marvel’s superhero flick Avengers: Endgame led the game, emerging as the highest Hollywood grosser of all time, at ₹373.22 crore.
Tenet, a film that Nolan has maintained is meant for the big screen, has not just shot parts in India but also features Bollywood actor Dimple Kapadia. Its 12 August release date is in line with the Independence Day weekend Indian exhibitors are eyeing to bounce back to business.