Single-screen theatres in Telangana to shut shop for 10 days

Shorter theatrical windows, the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, and the IPL have also been cited as reasons for this drastic move
Single-screen theatres in Telangana to shut shop for 10 days

On Wednesday, The Telangana Theatres Association (TTA) announced that single-screen halls across the state will be shut down for the next ten days. Starting from May 17, 450-odd theatres will remain closed till May 26. Rapidly diminishing footfalls have been cited as the key reason behind this move. According to a PTI report, which has quoted Vijayender Reddy, the president of the State Film Exhibitors Association, the daily expense incurred by an average single screen ranges from Rs 10,000 to 12,000 in small towns and between Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 in Hyderabad. 

However, the theatres are not even able to receive a revenue of Rs 4,000. This number drops further for smaller films. In such a situation, added to the lack of notable releases in the recent past or the foreseeable future, the association has decided to take the drastic step of shutting down theatres for some time. However, theatre owners have announced that they would be willing to screen films provided any producer comes forward and pays the theatre management directly to screen their films. 

Krishnamma, Prathinidhi 2, Aa Okkati Adakku, Prasanna Vadanam, and Aarambham are some of the Telugu films currently running in theatres in Hyderabad, mostly multiplexes. Raju Yadav, a film starring Jabardasth-fame actor Getup Srinu, is scheduled to release on May 17. Sources close to the film have informed The New Indian Express that the film will be ‘mostly postponing their release’, in light of the statewide theatre shutdown. It may be noted that the two other noteworthy releases of May 17, are Baahubali: Crown of Blood, a Disney+Hotstar Original animated series based on Rajamouli’s epic Baahubali duology and Vidya Vasula Aham, an AHA Original romantic drama starring Shivani Rajashekar and Rahul Vijay. The current vacuum in theatrical releases is expected to persist till May 31, which is when four films, including the Vishwak Sen starrer Gangs of Godavari and Satyabhama, a police drama headlined by Kajal Aggarwal, are scheduled to hit the theatres. 

The plight of the single screens has been worsened by shorter theatrical windows, where films are streaming on OTT platforms within less than a month of their theatrical releases, irrespective of the film’s scale or success at the box office. This issue has been disincentivising theatre owners and the entire theatrical ecosystem for a while now, which includes distributors and exhibitors. Single screens have particularly taken a hit, as multiplexes are still able to recoup some costs through inflated ticket and F&B prices. In addition to these concerns, topical factors like the IPL and the ongoing Lok Sabha elections have also caused producers to step back from releasing their films at the moment. The summer season, which has otherwise been considered a profitable time for theatres, is now in the middle of a dry spell. 

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