In a country seriously lacking recreational activities, the resurgence of the cinema business looks set to bring some entertainment to divert the publicís attention from the political turmoil surrounding them. Major cities such as Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar have always had a vibrant cinema culture, but by the early 90ís, the largest cinemas had fallen into a decrepit state. Stained and filthy conditions, broken seats and rowdy crowds kept families away, but recent investments have changed all that. Clean, brightly-lit multiplex cinemas have started popping up in many cities across the country, drawing large crowds of all ages on a daily basis.
Away from the major urban centres, even cities like Sialkot now have modern multiplex cinemas that show the latest movies in English, Urdu and Hindi. Cinema owners know that the market exists for the taking in Pakistan, where eating out is considered the sole family recreational activity. Super Cinema, a company responsible for opening nine screens all over the country, is filling this vacuum as fast as it can, but one company is not nearly enough to construct or renovate cinemas wherever needed.
Potential investors should look at this as an opportunity, and any doubts about whether or not to open a cinema should be eased by revenues received by cinemas, which can be as a high as Rs 11 million in peak-demand periods. The renovation of the Sialkot cinema had a 50 million price tag for Super Cinema, but the company is not worried as it looks to make up for the cost quickly through ticket sales.
A majority of the Pakistani public will always prefer Bollywood over Hollywood, a fact which cinema owners are well-aware of and have used to their full advantage. The sheer amount of movies being released by the Indian film industry makes the cinema business a very lucrative one, as long as India films are allowed importation. However, investors in the cinema industry must also be certain that security arrangements for cinemas are foolproof, because many cinemas have been targeted for attacks in the past, and militants will not hesitate to do so again. One attack will be enough to scare the public off, which is why it should be the prerogative of the owners to ensure that cinema-goers are made to feel completely secure when they are watching their favourite films.