South Indian films set to have lackluster box office as key markets remain closed

When cinemas across the country reopened after the first wave of the pandemic last year, it was films from the south that kicked off the box office revival for Pan-Indian film exhibitors in addition to bringing back a slew of spectators in cinemas.

by Vijay Master, which has been released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi across the country, enjoyed the biggest theatrical release after the lockdown, even though Bollywood has held back its big bang releases despite a solid lineup of films set to release.

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Yes Master kicked off the box office revival, it was a constant stream of southern movies – including Sulthan and that of Dhanush Karnan in Tamil, Red, Uppena, Jathi Ratnalu and that of Pawan Kalyan Vakeel Saab in the Telugu and Malayalam superstar Mamooty’s The priest – which made cash registers ring in cinemas until the second wave of the pandemic forced screens to close across the country.

(File photo) A view of an empty cinema hall in Kochi – REUTERS

According to the FICCI-EY media report for 2021, South Indian cinema generated more revenue than Hindi cinema in 2020 as it managed to integrate three blockbuster films which generated more than one billion yen in theatrical income.

“2021 has seen the theatrical releases of major Tamil and Telugu films which have been a smash hit at the box office, kicking off the industry’s recovery and instilling confidence in producers across India,” the report said.

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However, as major multiplexes have announced that they will begin operations after the second wave of the pandemic, films from South India may not help them resume operations like last time, as cinemas in major markets from the south – Tamil Nadu & Puducherry and Kerala – continue to remain closed.

While the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have allowed cinemas to operate at 50% and 100% seating respectively, there aren’t too many theatrical releases coming up. Reports also indicate that many theaters in neighboring Karnataka are closed due to lack of fresh content and low attendance at cinemas.

The Delhi government last week allowed theaters to operate at 50%. Soon after, major multiplex chains such as PVR Cinemas and Inox Leisure announced the reopening of their cinemas in nearly 100% of the markets they operate, with the exception of Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

After lockdown, Bollywood has put the brakes on big bang releases despite a solid lineup of films ready to release (file photo) – REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui

Although INOX has said it will reopen from July 30 in Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and in the south in states like Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, said the largest operator of Indian multiplex PVR, it will resume its operations its theaters with 100 percent of staff vaccinated in the states / Union territories, which has allowed the reopening of the theaters.

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While film operators affected by the pandemic waited for good news from the Maharashtra government, the state government order on Monday without exemption for theaters was a big disappointment for movie theater owners.

Film producer and business analyst Girish Johar believes the state government’s decision not to allow the theater to reopen could be due to two factors.

An empty theater in Chennai (file photo) – Bijoy Gosh

“The ICMR guidelines that say that indoors, air conditioning with crowds should at least be avoided… And a set of 15 requests from local movie organizations for proposed discounts and exemptions are underway. elaboration. Hoping for a positive step soon, ”he tweeted.

So far, only those of Akshay Kumar The lower end of the bell announced the theatrical release on August 19 from the Bollywood side. With Maharashtra continuing to remain closed, this will impact collections at the box office.

Meanwhile, film exhibitors are basing their hopes on a solid lineup of Hollywood releases to kick off the theatrical revival, including Warner Bros. Pictures’ Mortal Kombat, Fast & Furious 9, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The Suicide Squad 2, among others.

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