This Friday, finally the cinema halls in india will reopen after 7 long months. In September, The Multiplex Association Of India had urged government to reopen cinemas stating jobs at stake as a reason. The cinema body, which represents all the multiplex chains, including, PVR, INOX, Carnival and Cinepolis, said the sector directly employs more than two lakh people and provides employment to lakhs indirectly. An appeal with the hashtag unlockCinemaSaveJobs was published and backed by several newspapers and Twitter trendsetters. ” Due to countrywide lockdown, the cinema exhibition industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation, it was the first sector to shut down and last to reopen,” was the point put forward.
When AMC ( American Theatres) reopened after 5 months of global shutdown, it was the first experience for moviegoers. The lights started slowly coming back on in theatres nationwide from August with AMC Theatres, the country’s largest chain, leading the charge. When the doors finally opened, masked employees stood in the lobby to greet patrons and help them navigate the new safety protocols inside, where masks are required (except when eating and drinking concessions) and the sick are asked to stay home. Pretty soon, the number of customers had doubled and in time there was a steady stream of people of all ages coming through the doors ready to experience the big screen again. Though the world’s biggest chain, and inspite increasing foot falls, it faced loss. The world’s largest movie-theater company may run out of cash by year’s end if it doesn’t raise additional funds or get more people back to theaters following pandemic shutdowns that have disrupted businesses dependent on consumers gathering in public spaces.
Though the point from employee’s side was proven right and the jobs were saved for millions, it had the other effect on the management. Yes, the theatre managements are at huge loss. As per a review done for AMC business, a sellout, however, wasn’t exactly what it used to be. AMC was and is still only selling to 30% capacity, which in this location meant about 25 people per screen. Each film only gets two screenings a day to give employees ample time to clean. And showtimes are also being staggered to help prevent too many people from congregating in the lobby. With the new guidelines forced on the multiplexes to regulate their activities and reopen, the theatres are only counting on for survival.
Keeping that as an example, Indian theatres can expect the same on reopening the Cinema Halls. As in various parts of India they are planning to reopen, the protocols to be taken are strict. COVID-19 protocol of the Centre and state government should be strictly adhered to, failing which action will be initiated under the IPC and Disaster Management Act.Here are the new rules which will have to be followed by movie goers and cinemas in India:> There should be minimum six feet of distance between two individuals in the common area and waiting area.
> Arrangement of contactless sanitiser should be made.
> Thermal screening of individuals will be done before they enter the auditorium. Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed entry, according to the statement.
> To ensure that 50 per cent occupancy is adhered to, tape in the shape of cross should be put on seats not meant for sitting. Information about the seats not meant for sitting should also be displayed at the booking window.
> To ensure contact tracing, phone numbers of customers should be taken.
> The intervals of different shows should be staggered and efforts should be made to ensure that there is no crowding in toilets. Adequate food counters should be made.
> The temperature of the air conditioner should be set at 24-30 degrees Celsius and there should be cross ventilation.
> Limited people should be allowed in lifts.
> The halls should be cleaned after every show.
With this, the theatres will face reduction in cash income and a huge loss as a result in their year end business. While employees are glad that the country is finally finding its way back to normalcy, they have mixed feelings about going back to a theatre. Cinema halls are trying to maximize the footfalls in the best way they can do, while the risk is at the highest. The biggest threat is the less footfall of the audiences. We often hear that Indians are united by the two Cs of Cinema and Cricket. Cricket has adapted to the new abnormal, and the IPL has reinstated a sense of routine in our lives. One needs to see how the second C – cinema – adapts to the changing times to fight the biggest C of them all – the Coronavirus.
The films re-releasing in theatres as soon as they open , include Thappad, War, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, Kedarnath and others, also the fresh films having their much awaited theatre release like PM Narendra Modi, Sooryavanshi , 83 The Film and many more , we are excited and we wish them all the luck. As the Indian Entertainment Industry clearly believes, the show must go on!