The corridors of a well-known multiplex in Doha. Industry sources say the occupancy rate for Indian films at screens across multiplexes has steadily improved over the past two weeks.
By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
The occupancy rate at halls screening Bollywood and other Indian films has improved remarkably in the past two weeks, say sources in the country’s movie industry.
They attribute the trend to the indefinite closure of the Gulf Cinema complex on C-Ring Road, Najma.
A spokesperson for Qatar Cinema & Film Distribution Company (QCFDC) told Gulf Times that while there was not much patronage for Indian films at these halls earlier, the closure of the Gulf Cinema complex triggered a rise in viewership over the past fortnight.
The QCFDC official said the occupancy rate for Hindi films at screens in Mall Cinema, Landmark Cinema and Royal Plaza had steadily improved over the past two weeks – between 75% and 80%.
A similar trend has been witnessed in the case of non-Hindi films as well. “For Malayalam movies, the occupancy level is close to 70% for every show, including on weekdays,” he said, adding that the occupancy rate for some recent Malayalam releases at the malls had been almost 100% during the weekend.
Interestingly, the occupancy rate on weekdays was poor even when the Gulf Cinema complex was operating in full swing.
The official said the company was exploring the possibility of screening Malayalam films on three-four screens simultaneously, making use of the latest digital technologies available in the industry. “This is because the response to Malayalam films at the multiplexes has been rapidly improving,” he added.
The official also feels that there is greater awareness among cinegoers these days about the Indian films that are screened at multiplexes. This has resulted in a higher turnout at the halls showing such movies. “Film lovers have also started making repeated enquiries about viewing packages offered at the multiplexes,” he said.
Regular cinegoers, who were used to watching films in the spacious Gulf Cinema complex, said while they initially found it difficult to come to terms with the smaller halls of the multiplexes, they have got used to it now.
Sources at the 14-screen multiplex in City Center Doha (CCD), too, said the response to Indian films had improved at their facilities. “Even otherwise, we had fairly good patronage for Indian movies whenever they were screened. Now, the occupancy level is higher than usual,” said an official of the company that operates the multiplex there.
However, most of those Gulf Times spoke to said there should be a larger hall for Indian movies. Some of them also expressed hope that the Gulf Cinema complex would reopen soon though its management could not say for sure when they would resume operations at the two halls there - Gulf Cinema and Doha Cinema.
Viewers from the Industrial Area were optimistic that the new halls at Bachelors’ City would be ready for commissioning soon. “The Industrial Area has been without a hall for many years. Hopefully, we would be able to watch movies at the new halls in Bachelors’ City this year.”
In all, the country has more than 35 screens at its five malls - CCD, Villaggio, Royal Plaza, The Landmark and The Mall. The first two together have 28 screens while the other three operate nine between them.