Movie Industry seeing huge losses as halls go empty

The pandemic created huge backlog of movie screenings which is now causing a negative impact in the movie industry. The changing landscape of the entertainment industry, such as the OTT platforms have further worsened the situation, as people now do not want to come and watch movies in the movie theaters, given the high-ticket cost.

Movie producers no longer find it feasible to produce movies if the current scenario continues. Producers are frustrated due to the mounting losses in the cinema venture where the returns from box office sales, ticket sales, and other revenue streams have not met their expectations. The last hit was 10 movies ago in the form of Taba Hoka.

Producer Jangchub Denzin Wangchuk shared, “I decided to be a producer due to my interest and with a hope to make some profit and promote our production.”

However, due to massive competition and less market, he has had tough time recovering his investment. Almost all movie producers are not able to recover 50 percent of the investment.

The scope to screen the movies outside the theaters is also not feasible as the producers have to follow certain protocols to screen in schools and institutes, he added.

Producer Deki Choden said, “I opted to be a movie producer just to promote and support my son which is why I decided to produce myself.”

However, she said that the overall movie screening reduced drastically with just few viewers in a day. She is unable to recover her investment of Nu 1.5 million. 

“There could be many contributing factors to it. The number of people in town is not as huge as before, viewers feel that the movie will be screened through OTT platform later, and the other reason could be a huge number of movie screenings in town,” she added.

People are spoilt for choices as there are many movies screening these days. Although people do not choose to come and watch in movie theaters, however, they are willing to come and watch when screened outside, in schools, gewogs and other public areas.

To her, people turnover does not really matter. What matters to her is the feedback from the people, and she is satisfied with the feedback she has been receiving so far.

Producer Phuntsho said that screening a movie has become challenging given various associated reasons. “Though we plan to invest the minimum amount before the start of project, we end up spending a huge amount, which is why we are not able to recover the investment,” she added.

Coming to movie screening, she said that though they have a market in gewogs, institutions and schools, the rate they get is below their expectation and sometimes does not meet the expenditure incurred in travel charges, hiring equipment and skilled worker to screen the movies elsewhere.

Producing movies in Bhutan has become difficult, she said. It is made worse due to huge competition in the market, and they are not able to get movie theaters at the right time, whereby with time the movies lose its appeal to the audience. 

Ultimately, finding a solution to the mounting losses requires a combination of strategic planning, innovation, and adaptation to the changing industry landscape. Producers may need to rethink their approaches, explore new avenues, and deliver content that captivates audiences in order to overcome the challenges they are currently facing. 

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