New Delhi, Jan 11 : With the nationwide lockdown effecting livelihoods, one of the most affected areas was the exhibition sectors. Now, as multiple theatre chains open up with 50 per cent capacity, Kapil Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, UFO Moviez, hopes Bollywood business should bounce back by March or April.
"A month back I said it will pick up pace in two months' time, but now I can say that come March and then you see what will happen. By April, apart from government regulations because capacity restriction is there, in terms of the movies, we are very rapidly coming back on the track," he says.
"We ourselves have almost 20 movies lined up. When I had announced a business few weeks back I had 11 movies and now the number has increased," he says.
UFO Moviez, which is the first digital distribution company to introduce cinema digitization through satellite technology in India, has been on the top of its game from the start.
Agarwal also believes that gradually producers are getting the confidence to release films on the 75mm screen.
UFO Moviez will soon release the much-awaited Tamil blockbuster "Vijay: The Master" in theatres.
"Producers are getting the confidence back that the audience is coming to the theatres and besides 'Master', I am sure other big movies like 'Sooryavanshi' and '83' will come. So, by March, you will see the change, " he says.
Talking about the risks while releasing films in theatres amid government regulations, he says: "Theatres were not opening and people were not coming back, and they won't come back in big numbers until and unless some big movie released. Some movie released in November and then there was no content after that. So, that was becoming a Catch-22 situation. We are the link between producers and exhibitors. We took an industry view and decided to do something." Hence, the team at UFO Moviez devised a strategic plan go bring audience to theatres and give producers something to look forward to.
"The first step was to give content week after week to theatres, so that they didn't shut down. We started encouraging theatres and announced 11 movies. First movie released was 'Shakeela', then came 'Ramprasad Ki Tehervi' and '12 O Clock', and the next week is 'Masters'. We realised theatres were still skeptical but we saw more theatres opening up eventually. The anticipation is that 'Masters' should release all over India in 2000 to 3000 screens and in North India alone we expect it to open in more than 1000 screens, " he says.
"The bigger movies don't release till they see some traction in theatres. The idea was to first release smaller films and once that happens the audience should get to know (that theatres had opened). It took some time to start rolling the wheel. We had to start with smaller films, so that bigger films also got that confidence," he concluded.