Last month, when cinemas had not opened in most states, Warner Bros and Universal Pictures had decided to start releasing their films wherever possible. As Delhi opened, the decision was taken to release the much awaited biggie, Fast & Furious 9, on August 19. A day later, however, Bellbottom, starring Akshay Kumar, was also scheduled to be released on the same day. It led to a bit of concern and anxiety among the trade and exhibition sector. They felt that a clash in such circumstances should be avoided and that both films should come on separate dates.
Bollywood Hungama has now found out that Fast & Furious 9’s release has been postponed. The film will now release on September 3 directly. A trade source told us, “It’s a good call as theatres in most states are running at 50% capacity. On top of that, a night curfew has been imposed as well in many parts of the country. Clashing two big budget mass entertainers wouldn’t have done justice to the potential of either of the films with these restrictions. The single screen theatres especially were worried as they might have to play only one film.”
Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani Cinema in Bihar, stated, “The 2K single screen cinema owners are ecstatic with this news. We at least now have a decent playing programme with Bellbottom releasing on August 19, Chehre (starring Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi) on August 27 and Fast & Furious 9 on September 3. If Mumbai opens up from September 1, then more films will release in the subsequent weeks.”
However, all worries have not been put to rest yet. Maharashtra, which contributes 30% of box office, has still not been allowed to open. The trade source signed off by saying, “It remains to be seen if cinemas do get permission to open in a few days or does it open directly in the first week in Maharashtra. If the latter happens, then the business of Bellbottom and Chehre will be affected. Fast & Furious 9 might be able to collect better if Maharashtra is operational by September 3.”