Shah Rukh Khan with 'Chennai Express' and Hrithik Roshan with 'Krrish 3' seek to milk the festive spirit to drive box office collections to record heights. This has been increasingly happening of late as mega-budget ventures with big stars prefer to release their films during festivals. With theatre owners hiking the price of tickets, Screen investigates the rippling effect such a move generates at the box-office.
During festival time, a bonanza of mega-budget, big star films hit the marquee. This Diwali, irrespective of a hike in the movie's ticket rate, the much-anticipated
released to packed houses. Of late, inflated ticket prices have become synonymous with the festive season. The ticket cost for
at multiplexes is Rs 480, while the single screen ticket cost goes up to Rs 200 as opposed to their normal price of Rs 350-400 and Rs 100-150 for multiplexes and single-screens respectively.
Distributors and exhibitors are unanimous in their opinion that an increase in the ticket rates help to generate good revenue within a short span of time at the box-office. A notable example this year was
that released on Eid and went on to earn Rs 156.70 crore in its first week and became the fastest film to enter the Rs.100-crore club. "It does help with the box-office numbers as people are ready to spend big bucks on that particular occasion," says Shyam Shroff, Director, Shringar Films. He firmly believes that it is better to make money and encash on the inflated ticket rates, instead of letting the black-marketeers earn quick bucks.
Mayank Shroff, Manager, Programming and Film Marketing, Cinepolis, adds, "Films that have released during festivals in the past have proved that they"ve worked because of good content. People do not mind spending a little more not just at the cinemas, but also at restaurants or on holiday trips. It's a good season, so there is generally a 10-15 per cent price hike."
The industry parlance for such mega ticket releases, that are driven by star power are called festival Fridays or blockbuster Fridays. The high production costs are effectively covered up by increasing the ticket rates. People do not mind spending money to watch their favourite stars. At other times too, mainly on weekends, multiplexes like PVR or Big Cinemas may also charge more. However, single screens are slightly conservative when it comes to hiking the price. Akshaye Rathi, Director, Rathi Group of Cinemas, which is a chain of 23 single screens in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, believes, "As a policy, we never hike our ticket prices, be it a big movie or a small movie. We don"t cater to the audience who watches a film at the Red Lounge at Cinemax. We cater to the
, who follow a budget for disposable income. They"ve been our loyal audience for four-five decades and it's only fair that we give them what they want at a price that is affordable." Rathi however is not concerned with what the multiplexes charge and believes that it does not make good business sense to charge Rs.500 for a film like
."Nobody is going to come and watch it if it is priced that high. But if it is a movie like
, which people will flock to see, then it's fair that the ticket rates increase a little, because all these theatres are run by public limited companies, and their job is to make profits for their share holders," he opines.
There are several factors that come into picture while determining the price of a ticket. One of them being the location of the theatre. That explains why PVR cinema in Mumbai charges Rs.450 for a
Gold Class ticket, while in Raipur PVR charges Rs.350 for the same. Mayank Shroff says, "The pricing does differ from area to area. For instance, we charge Rs.350 at one of our theatres in Bangalore that is located in a posh area as it caters to a selective audience. In Mumbai we charge a competitive rate of Rs.250 as the theatre is located in an area that has five-six other theatres in the vicinity. On the other hand in Bhopal, we charge Rs.180."
Rathi too shares a similar sentiment stating that, "In my entire chain of theatres, we charge Rs.100 even at my most premium property in Nagpur. It's also a price that people would not mind spending to watch a
, and they"ll be more than delighted to watch a
at the same rate. Ultimately, it's about giving people value-for-money. One has to have a very thorough knowledge
about the spending capacity of the people and their taste."
Various theatres adopt different strategies taking into consideration the multiplex and single screen audience. Akshaye Rathi opines, "We do the opposite of what multiplexes do. If they increase their price, we may consider giving a 10 per cent discount. The idea is to ensure that the audience that comes to our cinemas, will never go to multiplexes. We"ve also accepted the fact that the multiplex audience may not come to our cinemas."
Price hike for movie tickets becomes inevitable, because of inflation, higher production costs, and the costs involved in running the theatres. The industry does not hesitate to take advantage of festival time, especially when several films have done well during this period.
that released during Christmas in 2009, garnered a nett all-India collection of Rs 202.57 crore. Moreover, even films that release during long weekends, or national holidays seem to benefit, since more often than not, the weekend prices differ from the weekday prices at most cinemas. The release of Salman Khan's
Ek Tha Tiger
last year coincided with two holidays" Eid and Independence day that fell on the same day. The opening day collection of the film was Rs. 32.92 crore.
Even as movies continue to make money, the audience does not mind shelling out a little more once in a while, provided they get value for their money. Sohail Ahmed Khan a taxi driver in Mumbai succinctly sums up the sentiments of the common man when he says that he wouldn"t mind spending Rs.250 for a good entertaining movie. So, till the hiked ticket rates do not really pinch the pocket, it's a win-win situation for both the movie-makers and the movie-goers.
Films that have released during festivals in the past have proved that they"ve worked because of good content. People do not mind spending a little more not just at the cinemas, but also at restaurants or on holiday trips
" Mayank Shroff, Manager, Programme and Film Marketing, Cinepolis
As a policy, we never hike our ticket prices, be it a big movie or a small movie. We cater to the aam junta who follow a budget for disposable income
" Akshaye Rathi, Director, Rathi Group of Cinemas
Copyright 2013 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Contify.com
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