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Alive emerges as a hit in South Korea and gives hope to reopening of cinemas around the world

Photo Credit: Supplied

There has been no new release across the world since 3-4 months thanks to the coronavirus induced lockdown. Hollywood has been itching to get back to its feet and as reported last week, four films planned to release in the month of July – ‘Unhinged’ on July 10, ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery’ on July 17, ‘Mulan’ on July 24 and ‘Tenet’ on July 31. Unfortunately, due to the rising cases in the USA, all these films were shifted ahead. As per the new schedule, ‘Unhinged’ now arrives on July 31 followed by ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery’ on August 7, ‘Tenet’ on August 12 and ‘Mulan’ on August 21.

However, there’s one place where the cases have dropped considerably and where many activities have resumed, including going to cinemas. This country is South Korea and it was a surprise to know that last week, on June 24, a film called ‘Alive’ released in cinemas. It was very well received and surprisingly, managed to get 5 million footfalls in just five days! It has done a business of $5,475,383 (Rs. 4.13 crore approx) till now.

Many experts had predicted that moviegoers would not go to see a film till the time a vaccine is not found. Hence, it’s interesting and even heartening to see that despite the coronavirus scare still looming large in the world, people have thronged to cinemas in Korea. Theatres in fact never got shut in South Korea ever! What also helps is that the country got very less coronavirus cases. As of Wednesday July 1, it had just 12,850 cases and 282 deaths. On average, it gets only 40-50 cases a day. The other major markets of the world like the USA, the UK, India, etc., still suffer from a large number of new cases daily. China is another major market but it has not given the go-ahead for theatres to resume operations.

On the other hand, there have been several other countries that have opened up cinemas like Japan (was also kept open like South Korea, but theatres had shut down for 2-3 weeks in April), Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Germany and Poland. In most of these regions, social distancing is heavily enforced and hence, a limited number of people are allowed per screen. And all of them are playing old films.

Yet, it’s heartening to know that week by week, the footfalls are seeing a gradual increase. Hong Kong saw a 71% increase, Taiwan 35%, New Zealand 17%, Australia 17%, UAE 16% increase in footfalls as compared to last weekend. The box office income in these regions is meagre but it is a good start. And once new films release in July end, it’s sure to earn more and also by then more markets would have opened.

“Once your vision is big, you will find rhythm in everything around you” – Dipesh Varma

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