Delay in movie releases, shift to digital platforms: Theatre owners consider shutting down movie halls

The crisis in the cinema industry in Kerala seems to see no end albeit the reopening of the theaters. The latest glitch comes after the theaters in the state were refused permission to hold the second shows.

After the release of Mammootty starrer The Priest that was slated to hit the screens on 4 March was postponed, Ajagajantharam starring Antony Varghese too has been delayed. The makers of Ajagajantharam said that they had postponed the release as there are no second shows in the theaters.

As per the latest instructions of the central government, theaters could hold second shows. However, the state government has decided not to allow second shows as the Covid cases are still on the rise in Kerala. Besides, things became uncertain after the election dates too were announced.

No releases, no theaters?

If this situation continues, there won’t be any new releases in the months of March and April.

The theater owners say that they may even consider closing down the theaters again to sail through the present crisis. As of now, things look bleak for the theaters unless the government repeals their order banning second shows in the state.

The Film Chamber had recently submitted a letter to the Chief Minister requesting new relaxations for the theaters. The letter stresses that the cinema industry is currently stooping into grave loss. While it appreciated the relaxation in the entertainment taxes till 31 March, the chamber noted that it must be extended beyond this date, as it would take some time for the industry to come back to its former state. Besides, the theaters earn its major share of income from the second shows. So, the Film Chamber has requested the government to allow second shows in the theaters.

As the stalemate continues, the release of movies like Kala, Toll Free, Ajagajantharam and Arkariyam too has been postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile, the producers of the movie Varthamanam written by Aryadan Shoukath and directed by Sidharth Siva said that the movie would be released in around 300 theaters across the state on 12 March. Lal, Innocent and Mukesh-starrer Tsunami too is slated for March 11 release.

Big releases in May

Mohanlal’s mega budget movie Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham and Fahadh Faasil’s much awaited Malik will be released on 13 May. Meanwhile, there are reports that Rajiv Ravi’s Thuramukam starring Nivin Pauly in the lead role too would be released on the same day.

Mammootty starrer One, Nizhal, Kunjeldho and Nayattu are some of the movies that await release in the coming months.

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