NEW DELHI: Multiplexes, one of the hardest-hit industries by the pandemic, are gradually picking up steam with occupancy rate back to around 20%.
A weekly occupancy rate of 30-35% has traditionally been considered “very good” by these multiplex operators, said a senior executive at one of the largest chains in India. “There is a strong pent-up demand among consumers to watch movies on the big screen owing to the gap when consumers were away from multiplexes,” said Gautam Dutta, CEO at PVR.
The success of some of the recently released films in theatres after multiplexes started screening movies in November is being dangled as a teaser to what lies ahead for the industry.
The current roadblock is the 50% occupancy restriction in four states, including two major markets — Mumbai and Rajasthan.
“Before ‘Master’, occupancy rates were around 5-10% and that was only possible due to low-budget regional movies that agreed to open with us,” said a senior executive at a large multiplex chain. “Master was the first sign that movie goers are willing to come back to theatres.”
Going ahead, top multiplex chains, such as PVR and Inox, are betting on fresh content to lure footfalls. Around 50 regional films, 12 Hollywood movies, along with 50 Bollywood releases are set to hit theatres this year, according to a roster of one of the multiplex chains that TOI has reviewed. “Every month, a Rs 50-100 crore movie is slated to be released,” said the executive. This year will see the maximum number of big-budgeted, multi-language films releasing at cinemas, said PVR’s Dutta.
Multiplex chain operators have been suffering from the lack of fresh content and footfalls. While Inox reported losses of Rs 102 crore for the quarter ended December 2020, PVR reported losses of Rs 49 crore. During the same period in 2019, both companies had posted profits of Rs 35 crore and Rs 36 crore, respectively.