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Outlook still bleak for beleaguered US movie theaters

By The SATimes News Service

About three quarters of the country’s movie theaters are open, but Americans are not going back in significant numbers in the Covid-era, even with new films coming into the marketplace weekly.


The biggest movies continue to limp along. According to new studio estimates, Warner Bros’ ‘Tenet’ earned $4.7 million in its third weekend from nearly 2,930 locations, Disney’s The New Mutants added $1.6 million in its fourth weekend, Unhinged brought in $1.3 million and Sony’s rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery picked up an additional $800,000 in its second frame.


And newcomers aren’t faring any better. The faith-based Infidel, which stars Jim Caviezel, did the best with $1.5 million from just over 1,700 theaters.


This weekend also saw the limited release of two adult dramas, IFCs The Nest, with Jude Law and Carrie Coon, and Bleecker Streets The Secrets We Keep, with Noomi Rapace. Both played in under 500 theaters across the country and neither got much more than $200 per location.

There is no question that this is an extraordinarily challenging marketplace, especially for North America, said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscores senior media analyst. This is a slow roll out. It’s going to take some time.

The nation’s biggest chains have been open for about a month after nearly six months of being closed due to the pandemic and a lack of new releases. But since reopening with enhanced safety

measure and the promise of new blockbusters, they haven’t gotten the infusion of business they were hoping for. Indoor theaters are still not open in two of the country’s biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles.


Globally Tenet also managed to cross a major milestone this weekend: The $250 million mark.

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Entertainment India Latest News

Theatrical releases are here to stay in India: Anushka

Actress-producer Anushka Sharma feels nothing can substitute the experience of watching a film on the big screen, and feels the post-Covid era will usher in a new wave where OTT platforms will “parallelly exist” with theaters.

“Let’s be very honest, these are extraordinary circumstances that we are all experiencing. I think, to judge anything on the basis of this time would probably not be valid,” Anushka said, when asked if the digital medium was filling a void of content due to the shutdown of the film industry amid the pandemic.

“But yes, certain things have come forward, which I think are true. For example, I think the digital platforms have, not just because of COVID-19, but over the years, established themselves in a way that they are creating a wave with the content that they’re doing. They have a wider reach. Filmmakers like us are able to explore ideas and stories that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to, because of — I don’t know if that’s the right word — but let’s say, because of the pressures of a box-office release,” added the actress, who is looking forward to the release of her next production, the supernatural thriller film “Bulbbul”.

She continued: “You have to mount a film in a particular way with stars, and you know there are certain stories and certain concepts that are harder to push (in cinema), although you understand that there is a huge audience for that in the country.”

That is where the digital platforms take the spotlight.

“That has been proven right with these platforms, where certain stories, like all the shows that have done well or all the movies that have done well on these platforms, found that audience in India. They have reached out to people and got appreciation and applause from the audience. So, I think this audience is here for content and content only. And you don’t have to fall back on certain tropes of theatricals, which can be a bit limiting,” added Anushka, who turned producer at the age of 25.

She launched her production house Clean Slate Filmz with her brother Karnesh Ssharma, and has backed unconventional stories, bankrolling films like “NH10”, “Pari”, “Phillauri”, and the web-series “Paatal Lok”, which was her debut digital production and which turned out to be a massive hit.

Anushka feels OTT platforms will “parallely exist” with the big screen.

“Everyone will become aware of the kind of things that you can create for theatre and the kind of things you can create for these platforms. I think that sort of understanding writers and producers will start to have… They already do… I think that is something that demarcation will be quite clear and apparent,” said the actress.

She, however, asserted that nothing can substitute the cinematic experience. At the moment, she is looking forward to her next production venture “Bulbbul”.

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