Akshay Kumar’s BellBottom has spelled cheer, say cinema hall owners

globalmovie     01 Sep,2021         No Comment

Cover Sept 2021

As the first big Hindi film to release theatrically after the pandemic slump, Akshay Kumar’s BellBottom has brought hope and confidence among theatre owners
Considering the theatres are still running in limited capacity, or even shut in some places, the release of Akshay Kumar’s BellBottom was a huge risk. However, the gamble has paid off well, with the film spinning the box-office wheel in the right direction, paving the path for big screen revival.

As the first big Hindi film to release theatrically after the pandemic slump, it has brought hope and confidence among theatre owners. “In the history of cinema, this step by Akshay Kumar, (producers) Vashu and Jackky Bhagnani will be seen as a groundbreaking decision. It helped revive the cinema exhibition business. The film is holding strong in the second week,” shares Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures and president of the Multiplex Association of India (MAI).

Theatre owners were eagerly waiting for the magic of the big screen to be back. “We’re glad that Akshay kicked off this recovery process. We hope that the momentum built by the fantastic response for BellBottom in the week gone by, would mark the onset of our revival,” asserts Rajender Singh Jyala, chief programming officer, INOX Leisure Ltd.

Co-starring Vaani Kapoor, Lara Dutta Bhupathi and Huma S Qureshi, the Ranjit M Tewari directorial, produced by Pooja Entertainment, released on August 19. The film is inching close to ₹30 crore in India, with business growing overseas as well, especially in the UK and North America.

Trade expert Joginder Tuteja hails the team for their decision to look at the larger picture of course correction, instead of profits. “The film comes with a potential to cross ₹150 crore, and the producers knew that they wouldn’t be able to reach that mark with all the restrictions. Yet, they took the risk, and now it’s growing steady,” he says.

BellBottom’s growing collections are likely to encourage other production houses and exhibitors as well. “When good content comes to a cinema hall, collections do come. The film’s second Sunday collection was the same as the first Sunday. It instills confidence in the cinema exhibition sector. I’m confident the numbers will only grow, and set a benchmark for others,” says Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinepolis.

The success of the film is also trickling down to single screens too. Raj Kumar Mehrotra, general manager at Delhi’s Delite Cinema, shares, “The film had packed shows this weekend. All the safety precautions are being followed.”

Officials from Rajmandir Cinema, Jaipur also sent out a shout out to the BellBottom team, as they wrote on Twitter: “We sincerely thanks @akshaykumar @jackkybhagnani for giving booster dose to cinemas amid pandemic by releasing bell bottom..! Much better response in 2nd week (sic).”

In South India, trade guru Sreedhar Pillai from Chennai tells us, “The film had many houseful shows in the first week itself. Akshay Kumar ne bahut confidence se apni film theatres ko di, restarting the business. It’s a great beginning.”

Now, theatre owners in Maharashtra are waiting for the green signal to bring life back into cinema halls. “Looking at this success story, we want theatres to open in our state as well.

The team has done a commendable job and I hope we also get to see the same magic here, soon,” hopes Arvind Chaphalkar from Pune’s City Pride multiplexes.

Manoj Desai, executive director of Mumbai’s G7 Multiplex (Gaiety Galaxy) and Maratha Mandir Cinema, adds, “Hum bol bol ke thak chuke hain. We hope we’re allowed to open with 50% capacity.”

Theatre Employees Rejoice

Alongside cinema owners, even the employees are happy with the positivity that BellBottom has brought about. Galib Khan, ticket counter official at JP Cinemas, Madhya Pradesh, says, “Akshay sir’s film is doing well. Sunday ko saare shows houseful the. Kaam ki bahut shortage chal rahi thi. Now, with BellBottom reviving business, we can expect regular income.”

Satish Gole, cinema manager at a single-screen theatre in Delhi feels that it’s because of the efforts of the film’s team that people aren’t hesitant to step out of their home to watch a film on the big screen. “It’s a good sign for the theatres and company, which helps us, the employees, as well,” he says.

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