This is the new normal, which we are living now, from the last 4 months. The Indian Economy and the people have been affected. The list is long, but something that prominently pops being suffered the most is the Cinema and television Industry. This pandemic has shown us, even celebrities are no less than simple human beings. A phase where even our favorite heroes have locked themselves inside their home to save us.
The Box Office has never seen such a tremendous fall. The Chinese film industry had suffered a loss of US$2 billion in March 2020. The same condition was witnessed in India, North America, and many more countries.
Never did we think, that the golden shows of the 90’s era will be back on our television screens and the routine shows that we used to watch will go on hold for an indefinite duration. The movies that were scheduled to release in March are now either kept aside for later hall release or are released on digital platforms.
The digital platform is, however, going uphill, performing better than ever and the big screen facing a huge downfall.
Impact on Box Office Collections:
It was already speculated, in March, that the global box office is going to suffer a massive loss of US$5 billion due to this pandemic. Almost all countries greatly affected by this pandemic, have closed or restricted cinema halls.
This has become a great loss since the box office collections and the revenue collected from movies somewhere supported the Indian Economy as well. A state of emergency was called, and around 70,000 cinema halls were closed in Mainland China in January 2020. As the pandemic followed to other countries, so did the closing of cinema halls. Considering the pandemic situation, all cinema halls in Italy were strictly ordered to be closed.
The same pattern was followed in France, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, and Japan where around 220 cinemas were closed.
However, before the government order of closing these movie theatres, a fear of the pandemic already prevailed in the minds of the local people. This is supported by the fact that even in the months of the early pandemic, i.e., January to March 2020, the box office percentage had been suffering for a continuous stretch of 3 months.
Box office collections dropped down and a huge percentage of loss was shared by different countries such as Italy by 70-75%, South Korea by 60%, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Singapore by 35%, and Taiwan by 30%.
Impact on Award Shows:
Many big award ceremonies which were to be done in late February or early March, were scheduled as per their dates, however, the ceremonies including 45th Cesar Awards, 43rd Japan Academy Film Prize were conducted without any guests or journalists in a low key affair.
Other ceremonies like the 14th Seiyu Awards, Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, 40th Golden Raspberry Awards were either ultimately canceled or broadcasted on radio programs or released on YouTube channels.
The International Indian Film Academy Awards, the Italian Academy’s David di Donatello ceremony, the American Film Institute’s lifetime achievement ceremony to honor Julie Andrews was pushed back and the 2020 Platino Awards have all been postponed considering the recent situation without any further notice of the actual dates for these events to take place.
Impact of Festivals:
Festivals like the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the Prague International Film Festival, the Bentonville Film Festival, the Istanbul International Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival. The Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, the 20th Beverly Hills Film Festival, the 38th Fajr International Film Festival, the 2020 Metro Manila Summer Film Festival, originally rescheduled and now has been postponed for an indefinite time.
All these events were previously postponed and now finally canceled until it’s 2021 edition.
Theatrical Releases Cancelled:
Many movies that were lined up to release in March, April and further, could not do so. The movie theatres being shut, most of these movies were released for online streaming on digital platforms like Netflix and many more. The James Bond film No Time to Die, scheduled to release in March 2020 has been postponed to November or later this year.
Enter the Fat Dragon which also had its release down the line, now premiered online.
Peter Rabbit 2 has been postponed to early August. The Disney/Pixar film Onward, because of its odd time release in March. Movies like A Quiet Place Part II and Mulan, Disney/Marvel‘s Black Widow, and Universal’s F9 have shifted their dates. Also, the release of Indian film Sooryavanshi, whose release was lined up in March has been postponed now.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Indian Cinema:
Most of the movies in India, which were to be released in these months have been postponed. Angrezi Medium, with a star cast Irrfan Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Radhika Madan, was released just a day before the lockdown and the strict closing orders of the movie theatres. As a result, the movie suffered a huge loss and thus it was later released for online streaming on Hotstar.
Even Ghoomketu starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui released on Zee5 and Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitaabo, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana was also released on Amazon Prime.
These movies were scheduled for theatre releases but looking at the current scenario, digital releases were considered a better option. The most awaited movie Dil Bechara, after the unfortunate incident of Late Shushant Singh Rajput, also got scheduled for its digital release. But this movie is surely going to be a big hit because it is already the most liked trailer of a Bollywood movie ever on YouTube.
Due to the closure of most theatres, digital platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Voot, Hotstar, Zee5, etc, have got a great hype. Series like Pataal Lok, The Family Man, Special OPS, Jamtara, Panchayat, Breathe is getting a good number of views. Even the web series released long before the lockdown, which had a limited number of audience, are now gaining more and more popularity. Series like Kota Factory, Mirzapur, Sacred Games are also getting their view counts increased.
What it means for the digital platform?
An English dubbed, originally German show Dark is also gaining more and more popularity day by day. Ever since the lockdown, the digital platform is gaining more and more profit with the increasing number of shows and engaging the audience. The makers are already in the view to consider digital platforms to be great for good show releases from now onwards.
On the other side, on television, a telecast of Hindu Mythological shows like Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and BR Chopra’s Mahabharat and Vishnupuaran, the 90’s Byomkesh Bakshi starring Rajat Kapoor and KK Raina is done on DD National and DD Bharti. There is also a recap of old tv shows like Yeh jo hai Zindagi, Shaktiman, Katha Sagar, Krishna, Buniyaad, Alif Laila, and SRK’s first tv show Circus.
In the event when the digital platform was gaining more and more popularity because of new and interesting web series, interesting Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was found to be the most-watched show on Indian Television during Lockdown.
This was a piece of great news that means whilst all these chaotic situations due to COVID-19 pandemic, something which had brought the whole nation together as a cultural piece of the country itself.
Can we bring back our popular shows?
Even the popular television shows of the last few years are being re-telecasted which are bringing back its own TRPs. The increasing number of audiences on digital platforms is mostly due to the office goers or students who are now either at rest or working from home, are also watching these digital shows like a mode of recreation.
This is, however, bringing the whole family together, getting a treat to watch such brilliant shows inside their home with their families.
Many celebrities are seen making videos and shoot for small movie clips right from their homes to keep us entertained even in this situation. It was even announced that the shooting for daily soaps will start from July, some were even started, but with the increase in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and different popular states, it has been shut down again.
However, some regional shows have been started telecasting, with proper sanitization methods. They are regularly sanitized before and after every shoot.
Even only a very less number of actors are allowed to be present together at a time, so this situation is handled very carefully keeping in mind all the safety guidelines.
This abrupt shut has disturbed the audience, the actors, and people related to this field and even the Indian Economy.
But there is no other way to solve this, and the government with all the members of Cinema and Television are actively looking for ways to keep on engaging us with rightful content within the safety limit of this pandemic.
We can even see some reality shows being hosted from their homes and each contestant is recording his or her performance which is being sent to the show authority and they also get recorded responses from the judged which are clipped altogether and telecasted digitally.
All these means of shooting these shows are done to keep us entertained and to smoothly keep their show running without any disturbance.
What we can see from these is that, whatever happens, the show must go on, and thus, even on the closure of one means, another means is getting invented, but nothing is stopped. Even cases of closure of cinema halls, digital releases have proved to be a great boon and kids of today’s generation who never came out of their mobile phones are not seen watching mythological shows with their families.
Even after all these losses that COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with, we can still say that it has taught us a lesson- a lesson that together we can fight anything and our roots maybe the roots of cinema will also come up helping our lives somehow.