KOCHI: Though cinemas have reopened in the state after the nearly 10-month-long shutdown, it might be a while before theatre owners are able to fully shake off the pandemic blues. This follows the postponement of the release date of some of the keenly anticipated Malayalam movies.
The decision to reschedule the release of movies, including Mammootty-starrer The Priest, was taken by the respective producers. The move was prompted by the spike in Covid-19 cases and the state government’s curbs on screenings. Despite the Centre’s relaxation allowing theatres to function at 100 per cent capacity, considering the spike in Kerala, the state may stick to its decision to allow only 50 per cent of the seating capacity.
“So far, we have been informed by producers of The Priest and Kunchacko Boban-starrer Mohankumar Fans that they have put off the release. It was the take of the producers, who are apprehensive of recovering the production cost of the movies in the prevailing scenario,” said Rejaputhra Renjith, president of Kerala Film Producers’ Association.
“Covid-19 cases are increasing and the number of people visiting cinemas, unlike in the first week after screenings resumed, is now decreasing. Hence, they have rescheduled the release,” said Renjith. He said not only the two movies, but some other biggies will also see a change in their dates of release.
“Soon after theatres reopened, we had charted the list of movies to be released on a priority basis.
However, now with the change in the scenario, some of the producers are planning to change the release dates. They believe that it will be safe to release the movies once the vaccination drive covers at least the vulnerable population,” he added.
Siyad Koker, president of Kerala Film Distributors’ Association, said screenings which had resumed in Kerala were more or less like experimentation. “Though we saw a good initial crowd for Tamil movie ‘Master’, later the number of people visiting theatres came down. Even at 50 per cent capacity, many cinemas are not getting an adequate number of viewers. Moreover, the second show is not allowed,” he said. The new release dates of the movies will be decided later by the respective producers.