Multiplex closure may cost industry Rs 350 mn in weekend

    MUMBAI: Hardly had the Hindi film industry recovered from the disastrous first half of 2009 due to the strike, when the second half has now been hit by the H1N1 virus scare in India. According to industry estimates, in an ideal case scenario, this weekend had the potential of becoming the second highest weekend in terms of box office collections with approximately Rs 310 – 350 million (Rs 31-35 crore) from Kaminey, Life Partner and Love Aaj Kal.
    After shutting down multiplexes in Pune, the Maharashtra government has now ordered Mumbai multiplexes and theatres to be shut for three days due to the swine flu scare. The same order may also be applied to multiplexes and theatres operating in the entire state of Maharasthra. However, the multiplexes have yet to get an official intimation of the same from the government. According to sources, the order is likely to come in tomorrow (13 August).
    As of now, the flu has claimed 15 lives in India with as many as eight deaths in the last 24 hours alone. In case the scenario worsens, the closure order may be extended to multiplexes and theatres in other states too.
    Movies that are slated to release this weekend are Kaminey and Life Partner and will release as per schedule. Additionally, Love Aaj Kal, which is now in its third week, is also playing across multiplexes.
    Speaking to, UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur says, "We are going ahead with the worldwide release of Kaminey as per schedule. In Bombay, we are following the government directives and will release the film as and when cinemas are permitted to screen."
    "The release date of our movies have been set and prints have also been dispatched. Hence we will go ahead with the worldwide release of Life Partner," said Studio 18 director domestic theatrical distribution Aman Gill. 
    In an ideal case scenario, Kaminey’s net estimated weekend collections could have been to the tune of Rs 180 – 200 million (Rs 18 – 20 crore), Life Partner’s could be approximately Rs 80 – 100 million (Rs 8 – 10 crore) and Love Aaj Kal third weekend could have brought in Rs 50 million (Rs 5 crore). The highest weekend collections so far have been during the opening weekend of Ghajni, which also had Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi running in its third weekend, which was to the tune of Rs 380 million (Rs 38 crores). Of this, Rs 320 million (Rs 32 crore) came from Ghajini (Friday – Sunday) and approximately Rs 60 million (Rs 6 crore) from Rab Ne.
    Cinemax senior vice president strategy Devang Sampat tells, “We have not yet received any official statement from the government on shutting down for three days. As of now, our theatres are open and screening shows. However, we will abide by what the government has to say.”