The continuing box-office dream run of a disaster movie inspired by the devastating floods in 2018 has brought cheers to the crisis-hit theatres in Kerala.
Filmmaker Jude Anthany Joseph’s ‘2018’, which reached cinemas on May 5, had amassed over ₹100 crores worldwide just 10 days after its release. As per estimates by the Film Exhibitors’ United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK), the movie had earned a Kerala gross of around ₹50 crore as it entered the third week of screening on May 19.
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“2018 has come as a sliver lining amidst the worst-ever financial crisis for theatres since the start of 2023. We have been able to clear the salary and electricity arrears pending for the last four months owing to the impressive turnout for the movie,” said K. Vijayakumar, president of FEUOK.
The poor box-office performance of majority of the releases had taken a toll on the theatres as only ‘Romancham’ directed by Jithu Madhavan had clicked among the nearly 75 releases between January and April-end. Nearly 15 theatres had faced the threat of confiscation of property by banks for default in loan payments while 25 percent of the exhibitors were staring at loan arrears, according to an assessment by FEUOK.
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‘Real’ Kerala story
Many theatres had slated up to six shows of the multi-starrer ‘2018’ daily following popular demand. Several movie-buffs had drummed up support for the movie by saying that it portrayed the real Kerala story in comparison to the controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’, a film apparently based on the instances of a few women joining the Islamic State.
Though the survival thriller has brightened the industry, filmmakers like Aniesh Upaasana remain anxious as other films including his ‘Janaki Jaane’ were not getting prime slots as theatres had kept aside the prime evening shows for ‘2018’. Exhibitors say that they were only going by the audience response while fixing the daily chart.
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