COVID-19 Fallout On Bollywood: Film Stars Lose Money, Aura

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New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a big blow to Bollywood in more than one way. The spate of unfortunate deaths, suicides, and the drugs imbroglio apart, overall, the film business is likely to decline by at least 50% over the next year or two as compared to the pre-pandemic period, say entertainment industry experts. There are fewer films available for release given the long break in production and fewer screens for showcasing, ‘mint’ reported.

Trade analysts predict the remuneration of top stars is expected to fall by 60-70%. They could earlier attract up to Rs. 30 crores on the first day of the release of big-ticket films. But now, they are unlikely to fetch these numbers which will impact their fee which is based on opening day collections. Their remuneration is expected to fall by 60-70%, ‘mint’ quoted trade analysts as saying.

Closing of single-screen theatres

“The covid-19 pandemic has been a terrible blow to stardom. It could be another year by the time all theatres are up and running and even then, overall collections will only be 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Lucrative overseas markets are gone too,” independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said in the report.

The closing down of single screens in small towns means several star-led films may not be able to penetrate as deep into the heartland or tier-two and tier-three towns, eroding their mass fan base, Pillai added.

 

A senior executive from a leading movie studio told ‘mint’ that a lot of leading actors have finished projects on hand but are not scheduling them for a release amid fear the films could be labeled box office disasters and they could be termed unviable. They feel that theatres running at 50 percent capacity and audiences, especially in metros, remaining wary of stepping out will affect their revenue prospects.

Image crisis

The debate around nepotism and the toxic work culture post the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has led to film stars losing some of their shine.

“The backlash around a film like Sadak 2 shows that even a digital voice can translate into an actual boycott of a film,” Shailendra Singh, director at myFanPark, a platform that connects celebrities and fans virtually was quoted as saying.

Digital media factor

Aditi Shrivastava, co-founder of digital entertainment company Pocket Aces that unveiled a talent management division called Clout this September said covid-19 has brought to the fore the difference between the polished social media of top stars and the openness and authenticity that digital faces or influencers have always been known for.

“That difference has become even more stark. Most A-listers had their films stalled so they weren’t posting much. Brands, on the other hand, that were worried about spending too much money continued to invest in digital faces who are seen as more real people and were active throughout,” Shrivastava said in the report.

 

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