While theatres are seeing 100% occupancy on Fridays and weekends, weekdays are not yet seeing pre-COVID crowds.

Movie theatre with red seats and red carpeting with a few people sitting maintaining social distancingImage for representation | PTI
Flix Tollywood Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:47

While Sekhar Kammula’s Love Story gave a much-needed boost to theatres in the Telugu states after the second wave of COVID-19, the festival season has made sure that the footfalls continue with releases such as Maha Samudram, Most Eligible Bachelor and Pelli SandaD among others. But theatre owners say that the crowd is limited to Fridays and the weekend, and falls drastically on the weekdays, despite some of the films being declared as hits.

This festive season, on October 14, Maha Samudram, starring Sharwanand and Siddharth under the direction of Ajay Bhupathi, was released but failed to get good reviews or word of mouth. However two other films, Most Eligible Bachelor, starring Akhil Akkineni and Pooja Hegde, directed by Bommarillu Bhaskar, and Pelli SandaD, starring Roshan and Sree Leela, directed by Gowri R, that released on October 15 have garnered mostly positive reviews and are attracting crowds to the theatres. Pelli SandaD also marks the acting debut of veteran director K Raghavendra Rao.

Speaking to TNM, Balgovind, owner of Sudarshan Theatre at RTC X Roads, one of the popular single screen theatres in the city, says, “The crowd to the theatres has picked up during the festive season and a large number of people, including some families, are coming to the theatres now. Two movies, Most Eligible Bachelor and Pelli SandaD, are doing well. Raghavendra Rao’s presence in the media has also helped family audiences come to the theatres for Pelli SandaD.”

However, he adds that not all sections of the audience have returned to theatres, and says that this could be the impact of COVID-19 or the rising popularity of OTT platforms. While Andhra Pradesh recently allowed 100% occupancy in theatres, Telangana has permitted 100% occupancy since July.

Executive producer and industry insider Botta Satheesh, says, “The houseful collections for hit movies are coming in only on the first three days. This has become a general tendency in the second wave. People who want to watch a movie in theatres are watching it in the first three days and most of these are regular theatre-goers. From Monday onwards, there are no crowds. Be it SR Kalyana Mandapam, which released in August, or Love Story, which came out recently, or the films that have come out just now, it's more or less the same. The crowd reduces after the first three days."

He further says that among the movies which released for Dasara, it's Most Eligible Bachelor and Pelli SandaD that are seeing crowds, whereas Maha Samudram has tanked. 

Botta Satheesh reasons that it's young people who are going to the cinema mostly, and that is perhaps why films like SR Kalyana Mandapam, Love Story and Most Eligible Bachelor which appeal to the youth, are doing well at the box-office. “The family audience is slowly coming to the theatres," he says.

N Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, from INOX Leisure Limited, Kurnool, says, “The theatres have picked up after the Andhra government also allowed 100% occupancy. Most Eligible Bachelor and Pelli SandaD are running well so far. In many places, there was 100% occupancy in the theatres on weekends and it's dropping to about 30 to 40% on weekdays.”

He feels that films with big stars may attract larger crowds. “If any big star hero's movie releases, the number of days that a show runs successfully might increase.” Depending on the response on weekdays, the movie might also get more screens allotted in the Telugu states.

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Watch the trailer of Most Eligible Bachelor here :

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