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Multiplex theatres are on experiment mode, Drive-in cinemas for the post-COVID era

Although consent has been given to resume cinema production works complying to COVID protocols, it is still unsure if people would flock to theatres to celebrate movies like before. Leading multiplex owners in India are reportedly leaning towards the concept of drive-in cinemas. If reports are to be believed big names like PVR Cinemas, INOX Leisure Ltd and Carnival Cinemas are moving in that direction. Outdoor movie screen, projection booth, concession stand, a large parking area can make the concept possible. The audience can watch the movie on the big screen at their convenience. They can sit in the car if they want. Anyway, Drive-in Cinemas will be a new experience for Malayalees.

The project is expected to kick-off later this year or possibly next year. The thought gets momentum as it can bring a solution to the issue of sitting in a closed environment for hours. Seems like multiplex owners are keen to launch drive-in movies in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Inox and PVR have not officially responded. However, Carnival Cinemas has initial plans for a drive-in theatre in Kochi, Mumbai and Mangalore.

Drive-in Cinemas is very popular in places like the United States. There are about 330 drive-in theatres in the U.S. As most Indian cities experience extreme hot or cold climates, open screenings may not be possible all times. The number of shows has to be adjusted for a few evenings. Also, screens used for indoor screening cannot be used outdoors due to light reflection. So, the screens have to be set differently. Moreover, drive-in theatres ticket rate would include food and drink charges. India’s GST rules do not approve of it. In any case, one will have to pay more for the ticket than at a multiplex. The government’s stance on the mass gathering also will be crucial in this context.

Indoor shootings or OTT releases are not profitable for a big industry like cinema. With a large team engaged in production, film shooting complying to COVID protocols is a very laborious task. Now that the central government has given permission for the outdoor shoot, the film industry is moving forward with high hopes. Crew members are trying to revive the film industry complying to the mandatory restrictions. Theatres have been closed since March-end. The film industry pays huge sums of money to the government in the form of taxes. Producers and theatre owners of big-budget films are against the OTT release. Also, Work from home is not a possible option for the film industry. So, let’s wait for what Drive-in Cinemas has in store.


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