Theatre owners seek clarification on new government order about shops being allowed to be open 24x7
Can TN theatres schedule as many shows as possible in a day, without time restrictions? Several doubts still remain
With the Tamil Nadu government passing an order that allows shops and other establishments to remain open for 24 hours, the Tamil Nadu Exhibitors Association has now sought a clarification from the government on whether the order holds good for multiplexes and standalone movie theatres.
If it does hold good, then TN theatres can schedule as many shows as possible in a day, without time restrictions.
Flexible show timings have long been considered as a practical solution to tackle the problem of shrinking footfalls in theatres. Some theatre owners are also of the opinion that the time flexibility might even counteract the losses incurred due to piracy.
The president of Tamil Nadu Exhibitors Association, Tiruppur M. Subramaniam, says that there is no clarity in the issue yet. "We have submitted a query to the government authorities. Theatres being allowed to be open 24x7 might be a boon to all parties concerned, but there seem to be several subclauses in it. Now, we are hearing that the commercial establishments should have a minimum of 10 workers available round the clock for them to be eligible for this concession. I am not sure how many B and C theatres can actually afford to run the theatre with so many employees throughout the day. But this will be certainly beneficial for large establishments like malls, and also for big movies with stars as they can now legally hit the screens in the wee hours of the day." Subramaniam also adds that he's expecting clarity on the issue from the government in a couple of days, which will then be followed by a general body meeting of the association members to decide on further course of action.
Gopi, manager of Kamala Theatres, Chennai, while welcoming the movie, shares that he's awaiting further clarity about the subclauses in the government's order. "This could be an opportunity to have six or seven shows in a day for big movies and capitalise on the first weekend, but everything depends on their clarification. We are organising a Tamil Nadu Exhibitors Association meeting in our building on Tuesday, which should make things clearer," he says.
We have to wait and watch how this 24x7 concession for cinema impacts the smaller films running in theatres, especially on weekdays, as the footfalls are already at the lowest in these segments.