That's a bit pricey!

That's a bit pricey!

Money Spinner

That's a bit pricey!

Enthusiastic: Crowd outside Fame Shankar Nag Theatre on the first day of screening of Avatar.

The weekend movie just got a wee bit heavy on the pockets. At a time when multiplexes were starved of hits and few people were flocking to theatre to watch films, bang came movies like Avatar and 3 Idiots and multiplexes  reaped profit by increasing the rates of the tickets manifold!

With tickets being priced anywhere between Rs 80 and Rs 1,000 per person, one would believe that it would make people think twice before going to the movie hall. Wrong, actually theatres have been packed for weeks now. Though movie-goers are shocked at the ticket price and resent the fact that their pockets are getting lighter after watching the movie, they say, they have no choice.

“Last year, very few good movies were released that one could watch in the theatre and 3 Idiots was one of them. Plus, it was the holiday season so why not spend it nicely,” said Raksha, who didn’t mind paying a whopping sum of Rs 1000 for an evening show.

It is factors like holidays, much-awaited releases and huge starcasts that attract people to the theatres and theatre owners too depend on these aspects. They also say that tickets are priced keeping in mind the investment they have made to improve the various facilities in the theatre. “The audience is intelligent. They will only pay when they get something worthwhile in return. This can be through the facilities a theatre offers and the type of theatrical fun one gets,” said Mohit Bhargava, regional director of Inox.

This is not all. Last year, following the standoff between producers and multiplexes on revenue sharing, an agreement was signed. Here, it was agreed that producers would approximately get 52.5 per cent in the first week, 45 per cent in the second week, 37.5 per cent in the third week and 30 per cent in the fourth week. Which means, the price of a ticket is also based on what percentage a producer of the film offers, say sources who adds, “prior to the release a letter was sent by the producer of the recent hit film, asking theatre owners to increase prices of tickets by 15 to 20 per cent.”

The Deputy Commissioner’s office monitors the maintenance and the facilities theatres provide.

Proper toilets, fire escapes, good seats are just some of the basic facilities. But there is no one who really monitors the ticket pricing. So will a day come when a ticket will cost upto Rs 2,000 or even more? 

While there is a section of audience who can pay high ticket prices, there are also those who are forced to look for alternative ways of catching a film. “At the rate which tickets are priced, I will be able to afford just one film in two months. So I pick a pirated CD or just wait for a month or so to catch it on television,” says Tejas, a regular movie-goer.