PVR, Carnival Cinemas, INOX considering drive-in cinemas to revive theatre businesses

While Carnival Cinemas has confirmed they have identified locations across India for drive-in theatres, other multiplex owners still seem to be on the fence about the business model's efficacy in the country.

FP Staff August 24, 2020 16:29:10 IST
PVR, Carnival Cinemas, INOX considering drive-in cinemas to revive theatre businesses

The coronavirus outbreak has severely impacted the world economy, and one of the worst-hit industries by the pandemic happens to be the movie business. As the world tries to adjust itself to the post- Coronavirus world, multiplexes in India seem to be considering drive-in cinemas as a viable option to bounce back to business, over five months after the coronavirus -induced lockdown.

According to a Livemint report, PVR Cinemas, INOX Leisure Ltd and Carnival Cinemas, among others, are eyeing the drive-in theatre experience in states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The report quotes PV Sunil, managing director at Carnival Cinemas, who admits that companies need to come up with "alternative forms of entertainment."

“We have identified three locations in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kochi and are looking for more (for drive-in theatres)," he says.

However, Ajay Bijli, the chairman-cum-managing director of PVR cinemas, has confirmed in an interview to Economic Times that their drive-in theatre in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex was planned before the pandemic hit and was not a "knee-jerk reaction" to it. He says the efficacy of the drive-in business model is yet to be tested in India.

"Internationally, it's like a picnic. Here I think it's a very different experience altogether where you're at urban centres, you've got commercial buildings and need volume control," he says.

While countries like Germany, Spain, South Korea and the US are reviving drive-in theatres, businesses seem to be still on the fence about it in India.

In a statement to Hindustan Times, Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure Ltd, states while on a conceptual level, drive-in theatres sound like a “different and unique experience,” “managing to secure a large expanse of space at a comfortable distance” could be a difficult job.

Notwithstanding, some smaller businesses have taken the plunge. Entertainment entrepreneur Viren Khanna has started an initiative in Bengaluru's Mullur. The initiative, called 369 Drive-In, has tied up with Yash Raj Films to screen such classics as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Chak De! India, reports The Tribune.

"A giant LED screen has been set up, we ensure zero contact, no one is allowed out of the car but for using the restrooms, which are sanitised at regular intervals,” Khanna tells the daily.

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