Will the post-Corona world see a resurrection of single screens?
The ongoing pandemic has made the future of single screens hang in balanceUpdated: May 25, 2020 16:36 IST
With the emergence of multiplexes, single screens have received a severe blow. While many have died an inconspicuous death over the years owing to stiff competition from multiplexes, many have been converted into them. And while the business garnered by both might face a roadblock in the near future, industry experts believe that the post-Corona world will see a resurrection of the single screen theatre. Veteran producer Mukesh Bhatt believes that cheap ticket rates will bring in people at single movie halls. “They’ve cheaper tickets. A huge chunk of our population cannot afford a gold class ticket but they do have the right to be entertained,” he says.
Director Milap Zaveri asserts that the films that are slated for a release in the latter half of the year are single-screen friendly movies and will contribute to their business. He says, “Single screen owners are of the opinion that a commercial masala entertainer is the way to resurrect single screens. It will take a Sooryavanshi, a Radhe or a Coolie No 1 for their business to witness a surge. Whenever cinemas reopen, the first audience who’ll go back to the cinemas is the masses and they’ll see the maximum footfalls.”
Trade analyst Atul Mohan opines that with support from actors, single screen owners might be able to heave a sigh of relief. Resonating with Zaveri, he adds, “Producers aren’t giving away Sooryanvanshi, Radhe and Laxmmi Bomb to the OTT platforms as are masala entertainers that will appeal to single screen audiences. Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar know that their films are best enjoyed on the single screen.”
Anish Jain, Head of Finance & Taxation, at one of India’s most popular single screens, Raj Mandir (Jaipur) says that it’s seating capacity is more than any high-end plexes in the city and have planned on coming up with a policy to “fit in lesser number of people and implement more effective safety measures”. He elaborates, “We’ll be keeping two empty seats between viewers and handing over masks to them at the time of handing them their tickets. We’re planning to install a sanitisation machine.”
Contrary to others, Manoj Desai, Executive Director, G7 and Marathi Mandir, believes that it’s going to be a Herculean task for both multiplexes and single screens to run in full swing. “So many people have left Mumbai. We don’t know when they’ll return. Entertainment is going to be the last thing on people’s minds even after the lockdown is lifted. I also don’t know if the idea of keeping a gap of two seats between people is going to work out for couples,” he says.