It’s curtains down for single-screen theatres in Mysuru from today

A single-screen theatre in Mysuru. These theatres are unable to run shows with 50% seating capacity

A single-screen theatre in Mysuru. These theatres are unable to run shows with 50% seating capacity

Single-screen theaters in Mysuru will remain shut for an indefinite period from Friday with the release of new films put on hold in view of the onset of third wave of the pandemic and the continuing curbs.

Unable to run the shows with 50% seating capacity, theatres are said to be suffering losses and therefore film exhibitors resolved to close the theatres until the situation became normal.

“What’s the point in incurring losses almost every day amidst night curfew and weekend lockdown that are driving moviegoers away from theatres,” asked M.R. Rajaram, vice-president, Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Federation. Amidst the demand from various sections for withdrawing night curfew and weekend curfew, the federation has decided to wait until the new films are released. “In case there are no new releases in the days ahead, we have no other option but to keep the theatres shut, like we did last year. It’s not just in Mysuru but across Karnataka,” Mr. Rajaram, who is also the secretary of Mysuru Film Exhibitors’ Association, said.

In dire straits

He said the single-screen cinemas were in dire straits in the wake of COVID-19, lockdowns and continuing curbs.

The number of theatres in Mysuru had come down from 24 to 8 in the last few years. The reasons were aplenty and not COVID-19 alone, he claimed.

“We need at least ₹1.25 lakh to run shows daily. What if we don’t get back what we have invested? It’s very uncertain now and we cannot take risks any more. The weekend curfew has hit us very hard as collections are usually high on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

The single-screen theatres that once used to be the heart of the cinema business in the State are facing the serious risk of slipping into oblivion with the first and second waves of COVID-19 sounding the death knell for the show business. And now it’s the third wave. With no hopes in sight, exhibitors at some places are opting to permanently shut down theatres, unable to bear the losses.

More than 30 single-screen cinemas have been shut down in the State and four in Mysuru city alone, which was once the second largest cinema revenue earning centre, after Bengaluru city.

With no prospects of early revival of the industry, Lakshmi theatre, which was into show business for the last 70 years in Mysuru, announced that it was closing down. Shanthala, Sree Nagaraj, and Saraswathi are the others that ceased business.

Mr. Rajaram said if the pandemic was one of the key reasons, heavy taxes and lack of relief from the government during these trying times were driving many single-screens to permanently stop operations. Single-screen cinemas may become non-existent in the next few years if the problems persist, he added.

In Mysuru, a few more single screentheatresare planning to shut down, unable to bear the losses. Unless there are big releases with big star cast, thetheatresmay not prosper like before, exhibitors feel.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 4:43:53 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hassan-reports-1906-new-cases-of-covid-19/article38298776.ece