With the release of long-awaited Bollywood films on Gujarati new year (last Friday) and the Gujarat government allowing theatres and multiplexes to operate at full capacity, Ahmedabad cinema halls experienced an average occupancy of 75% over the Diwali weekend.
Because of the Covid impact, 20% of the city’s 45 multiplexes are currently closed. According to the Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association (GMOA), the relaxing of the night curfew by limiting it to 1 am to 5 am, as well as the ability to operate at full capacity, has been a positive development for multiplexes and viewers in Gujarat.
“Since October 30, theatres and multiplexes have been authorised to run at 100% occupancy,” said Rakesh Patel, director of the Wide Angle multiplex. Also, during the three-day Diwali weekend, new movie releases like Sooryavanshi and Eternals brought us an average footfall of around 75%.”
“Since it’s Diwali time and new movies are being released almost after a two-year wait, even ticket prices are a little higher as movie distributors are trying to recover losses,” Patel, a GMOA member, noted.
Sanjay Agrawal, MD of Agrawal Group that owns the City Gold multiplex chain, said, “We saw 70-75 percent footfall at our seven multiplexes in the city. The patrons’ age was between 18 to 55 years.”
Those in the movie distribution and exhibition business are of the opinion that the situation will only improve from here on.
“Both Sooryavanshi and Eternals have fared well at the Box Office,” stated Devang Sampat, CEO of Cinepolis India. We predict this enthusiasm to continue as November brings a slew of big releases, including Bunty Aur Babli 2, Antim, and Satyamev Jayate 2, among others.”
“Cinemas have been a part of the weekend plans for countless families after being forced to stay away for months,” said Jayen Naik, Senior VP (Operations and Projects) of Nexus Malls, which operates the Ahmedabad One mall. Because of the new releases, the Ahmedabad One multiplex had a 65%t occupancy rate.”
“We were able to pay back about 100% of our sales as compared to Diwali 2019,” he added. Because of the new releases over the Diwali weekend, our food court and restaurants also noticed an increase in foot traffic.”