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400-cr Loss Per Weekend For Film Industry

Mumbai: The Indian film industry is staring at a loss of ₹400 crore every weekend when cinema halls remain shut and shoots are halted, experts estimated.

The Covid-19 outbreak has hit the industry hard and with shoots cancelled, release dates pushed, filmmakers are worried that even after the situation improves, there will be a clutter of films ready to be released, but getting dates will be an issue.

“What is going to stare us in our face after the pandemic is how vulnerable we are as a business,” said Vikram Malhotra, founder and CEO, Abundantia Entertainment.

“We are right up there with aviation, hospitality and services industry. Manufacturing demand can catch up, but for us, once a Friday is gone, it is gone. Production dates are perishable.”

Various trade pundits and studios estimate that between March 12 and 31, the film industry’s loss would be in the range of ₹1,500 crore.

“We are staring at a massive loss, but it can’t be above the health and well-being of consumers. Depending on how things go in the coming weeks, we’ll be grouping and figuring the next plan of action,” a senior producer said.

Already, the release of big budget films like ‘Sooryavanshi’ and ‘83’ has been postponed indefinitely, while all shootings have been halted till March 31. This has also brought cinema exhibition segment of the industry under extreme distress.

“The multiplex industry renders direct jobs to close to two lakh employees. Being a manpower-intensive industry, salaries form a massive operating expense, which has remained constant in these times. Over and above the salaries, the rent and maintenance charges, the electricity charges and other administrative charges have delivered a massive blow to the cash position of the multiplex operators,” said the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), in a letter to PM Narendra Modi, seeking relief.

MAI has pointed out that while footfalls were down by at least 30% in February, owing to a fear psychosis, between March 12 and March17, most of the state governments had asked the industry to shut cinema halls, bringing the business to a grinding halt.




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