Of the nine states that have allowed theaters to operate at full capacity, seven states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha, Delhi, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh – have imposed a cap of 50 per cent at one time. Three of the five southern states are now operating with 50 per cent occupancy, which is a cause for great concern as the South Indian film industry accounted for the largest share of India’s total box office revenue last year.
blow to regional content
Karan Taurani, Senior Vice President Analyst, Elara Capital, said, “South India has started imposing new restrictions in the form of occupancy caps and weekend lockdown, which is negative for regional content.”
Last year, it was the Telugu film industry that collected Rs 1,200 crore while bagging the lead at the box office. This was followed by the Tamil industry with a collection of Rs 800 crore. Film producer and trade business analyst Girish Johar said the box office growth in Telugu was 25-30 per cent as compared to 2019.
In 2021, 60 per cent of the total box office collection of Rs 3,700 crore, or Rs 2,250 crore, came from the Telugu and Malayalam film industries.
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The Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, stood third during the pandemic with a collection of Rs 700 crore in 2021, which had the highest share of India’s box office collections before the pandemic. Now due to theater shutdown and restrictions on capacity, Hindi film producers have once again started postponing new releases. Similarly, the regional industry is also having to make changes in its movie calendar.
Recently, Dulquer Salmaan postponed his new Malayalam language film Salute due to the COVID case.
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Release of many big films including RRR, Radhe Shyam postponed
Nitin Menon, co-founder, NV Capital, said, “They (film producers from the south) have started postponing the release of their films like RRR, Radhe Shyam and Valimai.”
He said that the problem has been compounded by the closure of screens in Delhi and its adjoining markets as many regional films were expecting good collections here after the success of Telugu film Pushpa.
According to film trade analysts, the Allu Arjun starrer has become the highest-grossing film of 2021 with a collection of over 200 crores across all versions. The Hindi version of the film alone recorded a collection of Rs 80 crore.