With the Maharashtra government ordering closure of all multiplexes and theatres in Mumbai till August 16 due to fast spreading swine flu, the film exhibition business may incur an overall financial loss of at least Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) from the upcoming long weekend holiday on account of Janmashtami and Independence Day.
This is because the film exhibitors are expecting a lower occupancy rates in the multiplexes in all major centers as a direct fall out of swine-flue spreading at a fast pace.
However, the much awaited Bollywood film, Kaminey, (starring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra) remains on-schedule for an all-India release on August 14 along with another new film, Life Partner, also releasing on August 14.
The Saif Ali Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer, Love Aaj Kal, has already done brisk business in the past week, may suffer from lower theatre occupancy the coming weekend, say film trade analysts.
UTV, the producers of, Kaminey, have clarified that it is going ahead with the release despite the closure of theatres in Mumbai region. The Maharashtra government has already ordered the closure of around 10 multiplexes in Pune.
With the 30-odd multiplexes in Mumbai region, that contribute around 25 per cent of the overall weekly box office collections in the country remaining closed during the weekend, trade analyst are fearing the worst for the overall financial health of the Bollywood business that is already coping with the adverse impact of the two-month strike during April and May when no new films were release in the theatres.
"I do not wish to speculate on the financial implications on the business due to the closure of theatres in Mumbai. Public health comes first. We hope that the swine-flu virus gets contained fast. We are taking all precautions in our multiplexes across the country," says Alok Tandon, CEO, Inox Leisure, a leading multiplex chain.
According to Anand Shah, an analyst with Angel Broking, "The weekend collections alone contribute up to 60-70 per cent of the overall collections for new Bollywood releases. Once the weekend is lost due to theatre closure, it will be bad for the business."
Meanwhile the multiplexes across Mumbai will make full refund to the consumers on any advance bookings done for the films scheduled for the weekend.
According to bookmyshow.com, an online movie booking website, swine flu and the 'verified by visa' directive from the Reserve Bank of India on all online credit card transactions together have contributed to at least 5-10 per cent reduction in the online bookings.
Industry sources say, around 10,000 tickets have already been booked for August 13 to August 16. " We will make full refund for all tickets booked for multiplexes in Mumbai," says Roopesh Shah, head of marketing at Bookmyshow.com.