Will Omicron Drive People Away From Cinema Halls Once Again?
New Delhi: Just as Bollywood was preparing to release its big pictures after a two-year hiatus, Omicron has cast its shadow on the silver screen. The stakes are high with at least 30 Hindi movies lined up for a theatrical release, waiting for cinemas to open with 100 per cent capacity.
Just when cash registers had started ringing in the box office with ‘Sooryavanshi,’ Omicron has created an atmosphere of uncertainty. Nitin Menon, a co-founder of NV Capital, a credit fund for the media and entertainment sector, told Moneycontrol that the industry has not yet suffered a major hit because of the new variant, it is becoming a cause of concern for the business.
“The number of cases is too small to have an impact but sentiment impact will definitely be there and that is going to make things worse for small- and medium-budget films for which people anyway have been choosy,” Karan Taurani, senior vice-president, Elara Capital, told Moneycontrol.
According to him, small- and medium-budget films may not see large audiences and recovery to pre-COVID level for such films may set in later than in the case of large-scale films.
Not to say that big-budget ventures will be immune to the new COVID variant. Taurani said it will be some time before collections for such films reach pre-COVID levels.
“If (Ranveer Singh-starrer) 83 (releasing on December 24) would have collected Rs 250-280 crore, due to the omicron situation it might see a fall of 15-20 percent. It is not a big impact but a definite negative impact. Also, a lot of the numbers for 83 that we had factored in were typically assuming that Maharashtra will allow 100 percent occupancy, which is going to get delayed,” Taurani was quoted as saying.
On the anvil:
- Anees Bazmi’s Kartik Aaryan comedy ‘Bhoool Bhulaiya 2’ scheduled for March 25, 2022 release.
- Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Alia Bhatt-Ajay Devgan starrer ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ scheduled for February 18, 2022 release.
- Telugu actor Adivi Sesh’s war biopic ‘Major’ scheduled for release all over India in multiple languages on February 11
Producer-director Vipul Shah feels it’s too early to comment on the impact of the Omicron: “It’s too early to know how serious this virus is. I would wait and watch. Our industry is showing amazing resilience and I have no doubt that we will get through this also and come out with flying colours.”