COVID 19: Southern film buffs more reluctant to go to the movies

69% in Mumbai say they will stay away from theatres

Film buffs in the south are far more cautious when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic than the ones in the north, a survey has shown.

The latest State-wise figures from Ormax Media’s ongoing study of the impact of the outbreak on theatre-going behaviour show that 78% of Kerala viewers polled said they would stay away if theatres were open and a film they wanted to watch was showing. This was followed by 74% from Karnataka saying they would not go to cinema halls, while West Bengal was in the third spot with 70%, followed by Andhra Pradesh-Telangana with 63%.

The exception to the rule in the south was Tamil Nadu, featuring 12th among 13 States polled, with 48% viewers claiming they would stay away. Uttar Pradesh stood at the very bottom, with 45% viewers saying they won’t be flocking to cinema halls because of the virus.

“While 61% viewers in Maharashtra claimed they will stay away, the percentage in Mumbai alone was relatively higher at 69%,” said Ormax CEO Shailesh Kapoor. According to him, the constant conversations on media and social media have added to the awareness of the crisis and led to a rising restraint.

The fourth in the series of surveys, conducted between March 16-18, showed a sharper spike with 58% of the country’s regular theatre-goers likely to stay away from theatres till the threat of the novel coronavirus has reduced. This was an increase from the 23% in the poll conducted between March 6 and 8, 26% in the one conducted between March 9 and 11 and 33% between March 12-15.

As many as 57% viewers in the Hindi-speaking markets said they will stay away, as opposed to 39% in the previous one and 28% and 26% in the ones before that. In the south, the rise was far more substantial — 58% said they will stay away from 30%, 21% and 17% previously.

Mr. Kapoor said things look uncertain for the industry for some months to a year. But it is getting increasingly clear that it will be one of the most crippling years for the industry in recent times. “With shoots stalled, the planned October, November, December releases are looking uncertain and will get pushed further. Some single screens were thinking of renovating in this interim, but even for that you need people.”

According to him, even when theatres reopen, it will take at least four to eight weeks for things to get back to the normal routine. In other words, it’s a long haul ahead.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:10:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/covid-19-southern-film-buffs-more-reluctant-to-go-to-the-movies/article31112349.ece

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