• Audience trickle into DRC
• Single-screen theatres remain shut
Mysore/Mysuru: After months of drawing the curtains on the shows going from 100 percent to zero, cinema theatres in the city opened to a thin audience this morning.
As expected, the crowds just trickled into multiplexes where the morning and noon shows were on while single-screen theatres remained shut except for ‘Woodlands’ where there was fewer audience.
The State Government yesterday allowed theatres to open with 50 percent capacity and also strictly adhering to all social distancing and COVID-appropriate behaviour. All multiplexes including DRC Cinemas at BM Habitat Mall in Jayalakshmipuram opened this morning and the shows have been designed and timed so that the last show winds up by 9.30 pm, 30 minutes before the night curfew begins.
Though the multiplexes opened amidst short notice to a thin audience, single-screen theatres did not open. Only Woodlands reopened and a Kannada movie was screened. Single-screen theatre owners said that they will take a decision this evening at a meeting on the modalities of opening.
“We have opened it to the general public with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). As per the guidelines, entry is restricted only to 100 seats as against the total 200 seating capacity. The entire cinema hall was totally cleaned and disinfected. It might take a week or so for the movie buffs to return,” Vaishali Hanumanth, who owns DRC Cinemas, told Star of Mysore.
“Adequate physical distancing was maintained by keeping every alternative seat vacant. Adhesive tape was put on the vacant seat to maintain social distancing. We have made provisions for sanitisers and hand washing facilities at the entrance. Only people with face masks were allowed entry,” she added.
No snacks were, however, supplied to the audience. A few single-screen theatre owners said that it would not be possible to open theatres unless new movies are released. “The movies already released are being watched on OTT platforms. It is not possible to open theatres with just one or two films in hand. At least five to six cinemas must be ready,” they said.
Also, producers must agree to change the existing business module of fixed weekly payments to a percentage-based module, they said. “If only 50 percent of the audience is allowed, the income is only sufficient for rentals, salaries and taxes. What about the other expenditure,” they questioned.