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COVID-19: Bollywood Likely To Loss Rs 13,000 Cr

Slowly transiting back into filled cinema halls and films’ releasing every weekend is, for now, a distant reality. Only time and the cooperation level of people will tell.

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The Indian Film industry is arguably one of the few industries severely hit due to the coronavirus. With the release of movies stalled, events cancelled, cinema halls shut down, growing out of this pandemic may be harder than what we expected.

Bollywood is one of the hardest-hit industries due to this pandemic, with an estimated loss of over 1300 Crores (according to the report in a daily newspaper) the cash flow into this field is low, and its impact is severe. The release of films such as Sooryavanshi, Radhe, Laxmi Bomb and 83 have been halted, and postponed.

The budget of films like these run into crores, recovering that money and releasing the film into a safe environment is crucial for the industry to make a profit. ‘Sooryavanshi’ had a budget of Rs 125 crore, and the filmmakers were hoping to cash in on the Gudi Padwa holiday, which didn’t happen.

“In the last two years, the industry made profit/revenue around Rs 850-900 crore in net collections in each quarter April to June. We’re definitely losing that amount, said trade analyst Atul Mohan.

When it comes to predicting the losses faced by the industry during these time Mohan said that Rs 125 Crore is collected through those films which are released before COVID-19 lockdown. When it comes to films released during “festivals” or a “long weekend” this “number is about Rs 150 Crore per week”. While the movie ‘Angrezi Medium’ premiered online, it couldn’t make a profit, but faced a loss of over Rs 10 crore.

Another industry analyst Sumit Kadel said “Multiple clashes will result in the division of audience footfalls, theatres, shows and eventually, collections. So, 2020 may definitely not be even half as good as 2018-2019”

According to a trade analyst, in the inception of the virus, Bollywood was predicted to make a huge loss. However, all predictions stand in question, as the release dates and shooting schedules are uncertain.

In fact, they could be even pushed back to July or August 2020, as no one would be ready to take the risk of Covid’19. All production houses and directors have been making statements regarding the postponement of several films have set no date, as uncertainty is overcoming the country. The idea in question here, is even post the lockdown ends, would people prefer to go out to crowded places like cinema halls and theatres? There is no surety that consumer spending post the lockdown will translate into fueling cinema halls and people paying to see movies.

In a press statement, Kamal Gainchandani, CEO of PVR Cinema’s, stated that “The global Coronavirus pandemic has seen the cinema sector suffer massive financial losses, with thousands of screens countrywide forced to close down, and many employees, not just of cinemas, but even their supply chains and other stakeholders, facing personal hardship. The situation is truly unprecedented and unparalleled.” This further puts light onto the fact, that actors and directors are not the only ones suffering due to this industry being on a standstill.

Despite the huge impact this pandemic has on cinema halls and the film industry in general, Gainchandani had asked everyone to respect all stakeholders and come together during this time. “To this end, we urge all studios, producers, artists and other content creators, to kindly respect the exclusive theatrical window, which has been a time-tested industry practice, agreed to by all stakeholders, not just in India, but even globally, for several decades.”

Slowly transiting back into filled cinema halls and films’ releasing every weekend is, for now, a distant reality. Only time and the cooperation level of people will tell.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Kavya Shah

The author is an intern with BW Businessworld

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