As the fear of COVID remains, the state governments are also hesitating on opening all the public places. The theatres were finally opened to the public, but there is still a restriction on the 100% seat occupancy.
The Tamil Nadu government earlier changed their decision of allowing full occupancy and reversed it to limited seating. Given the festival rush and excitement of audiences over the new releases, the number of shows were increased. The theatres in Tamil Nadu will once again work with alternate seating arrangements.
This could affect one of the most anticipated movies. Thalapathy Vijay’s “Master” is all set for its release and is one of the most awaited movies of January 2021. But will the decision of 50% occupancy in Tamil Nadu and other major states affect the box office collections?
Master will release on January 13 in theatres and the promotions are in full force. Vijay himself met the Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami to request for a 100% seat occupancy. The government gave its permission and allowed for a full occupancy. Movies like Master and Easwaran are slated for Pongal release and fans would want to watch it.
But days after the agreement to 100% occupancy, the Tamil Nadu government took a U-turn and came back to the limited seating arrangement.
This decision was made after the state government received backlash from the Ministry of Home Affairs, medical experts and health workers. Aravinth Srinivas, a resident doctor at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) wrote that, “The pandemic isn’t over and we have people dying till today to the disease. A hundred percent theatre occupancy is a suicide attempt.” His message went viral on social media.
Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary saying that the 100% occupancy decision is like contradicting the MHA’s Unlock guidelines.
The problem that “Master” could face is that people are eager to watch the movie. Some will wait till they get the tickets and watch it only in theatres, but some will resort to pirated versions of the movie that will eventually leak online.
The Chennai High Court issued a ban on illegal streaming and publication of the film on an online platform, as the producers and actors waited for a long time for Master to get a theatre release. Now if the movie gets leaked on any of the online websites, they will have to bear huge losses. But there is a chance that this will not stop the websites such as Tamil Rockers.
Master will probably suffer due to minimum seat occupancy and a possible leak on online platforms in the first 24 hours.