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With Billions In Losses And No Respite In Sight, Multiplexes Turn To Mall Developers For Support

The latest announcement comes as a blow to the industry that has already been struggling for more than four months now and was expecting some relief during Unlock 3.

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Due to the relentless increase in Covid 19 cases across the country, the government has decided to extend the lockdown on multiplexes and  single screen cinemas in its new Unlock 3.0 announcement.

The latest announcement comes as a blow to the industry that is already struggling and was expecting some relief during Unlock 3.

The Multiplex Association of India has already voiced its disappointment In a statement the association said, “The industry was thoroughly prepared with stringent SOPs and guidelines to offer a safe movie watching experience. The Government’s decision is against our expectations and will impact millions of livelihoods dependent on the industry. We have been urging the Government all along and continuing to engage with the relevant authorities with our plea to allow the cinemas to operate.”

Over the last 100 plus days, single screens and independent properties have been the worst hit, even more than multiplex chains. The temporary closure of multiplexes has also deprived shopping malls of nearly 30-40 percent footfalls.

If opening up was allowed in Unlock 3, multiplexes were prepared to deploy stringent SOPs and a representation was submitted to I&B Ministry as well as the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the same.

A white paper on the mall scenario in India titled Rebirth of Retail Malls: New, Improved and Revitalized which was released by Anarock, one of India’s leading real estate service company identifies ‘coexistence of malls and multiplexes’ as one of the 6 pillars of a success of a mall.

With multiplexes already facing a lot of challenges like high fixed operating costs, lack of fresh & saleable product (content) and apprehensions in the minds of the visitors, they are now looking towards mall developers for support.

No solution to this situation can lead to closures of many cinemas, potentially marking the beginning of an extremely long road to recovery for the film industry. Since the multiplex is the beating heart of a thriving mall, it will be no surprise that malls will remain there but with little life.

The announcement by the ministry is also upsetting for the movie business that has already suffered an estimated loss of around ₹1,000 crore in the first half of 2020. 

Films that were slated for big screen release but could not be released are now going the digital route. Movies like Bhuj, Sadak 2, Shakuntala Devi, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl are all opting for OTT release now.

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