Eros Stock – Film releases put off amid covid-19 scare
NEW DELHI: A resurgence of coronavirus cases and the fear of lockdowns, especially in Maharashtra, the home of Bollywood, has left the entire film industry in jitters. Several new offerings, including those from Hollywood, are being either put on hold or lined up for digital premieres.
The Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Chehre, which was scheduled for release next Friday, has been postponed, adding to a spate of delays announced last week, including Yash Raj Films’ Bunty Aur Babli 2 and Eros International’s Haathi Mere Saathi.
While titles such as Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivi are sticking to their end-April dates as of now, they are still to begin active promotions.
Hollywood is also showing signs of redrawing its summer calendar. Walt Disney has pushed the release of films such as Cruella and Black Widow, which will now debut the same day on Disney+ as in theatres. Disney’s animated film Luca will skip theatres and will directly be available to stream from 18 June.
“Everyone is in two minds right now whether to go ahead with releases or not. It’s a really tricky situation considering the government is mulling a lockdown and if that happens, all marketing and publicity will be a waste of resources, which nobody wants,” said a trade analyst, who did not wish to be named, explaining the reason behind lack of film promotional activity.
The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) on Thursday wrote to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray concerning recent news on the possibility of a second lockdown in the state, emphasizing that, if implemented, this will negatively impact the cinema, retail and shopping industries. Media reports with respect to a second lockdown in Maharashtra have already resulted in a lot of film releases being postponed, and a fresh lockdown will lead to all Hindi films (and many other films in other languages) being postponed, MAI had said.
According to trade experts, even if Sooryavanshi sticks to its 30 April release date, it could be looking at a digital premiere on Netflix within four weeks to make up for the loss in box office. “You can’t really blame producers for being spooked in a climate like this,” Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts and Mukta A2 Cinemas said.
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