Vijayawada: Lower cinema ticket prices dampen exhibitors' sprits
- Closed for more than six months in the first wave and about two months in the second wave of the Covid pandemic, film theatres suffered huge losses
- But fixing of lower ticket prices further dampened their enthusiasm while uncertainty still looms
- Minimum cinema ticket rate in village panchayats is fixed at ` 5 and maximum at ` 15
Vijayawada: Film exhibitors, who suffered huge loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the first and the second waves are further depressed with the lower ticket prices fixed by the government for the cinema halls.
Film theatres were closed for more than six months in the first wave and about two months in the second wave of the Covid pandemic. Consequently, the theatre owners suffered huge losses. The State government recently announced the ticket rates. The film exhibitors are very unhappy with the ticket rates and asking the government to increase the rates. As per the orders, the film exhibitors can't violate the maximum rates and should confine to the rates fixed by the government.
But, they are at liberty to charge lesser rates.
The ticket rates fixed by the government are based on geographical area and separate list of rates announced for municipal corporations, municipalities, nagara panchayats and grama panchayats. The seating is divided into three types as economy, deluxe and premium classes. Economy is the lowest price, deluxe is the medium and premium the highest price.
The State government recently issued permission to reopen the theatres from July 8 as Covid cases came down drastically. Now, the film exhibitors are in no mood to screen the movies. The film exhibitors feel that the ticket rates announced by the government is very low and asking it to revise the same.
The government has fixed the lowest price of Rs.5, middle class at Rs.10 and the highest premium class at Rs 15 for the non-AC theatres in Grama Panchayat areas. For AC theatres, the ticket rates are Rs10, Rs15 and Rs 20 in grama panchayats.
In Nagara Panchayats, for the non-AC halls the ticket rates are Rs10, Rs15 and Rs 25 respectively. For AC theatres, the ticket rates are Rs 15, Rs 25 and Rs 35 respectively.
In municipal areas, the non-AC theatre ticket prices are fixed at Rs 15, Rs 30 and Rs 50 respectively. For AC theatres in municipal areas, the ticket prices are Rs 30, Rs 50 and Rs 70 respectively.
Multiplex ticket prices in municipalities are fixed at Rs.40, Rs80 and Rs120 respectively. In urban areas, the movie lovers have to pay maximum of Rs120 to watch a movie.
About 1,100 movie theatres are in the State and most of them are located in the rural areas and municipalities.
In cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, the multiplex ticket prices for AC theatres are fixed at Rs75, Rs150 and Rs250 respectively. For AC theatres, the ticket price is fixed at Rs 40, Rs 60 and Rs100 respectively. For non-AC theatres, the rates are Rs 20,
Rs40 and Rs60. For multiplex non-AC halls the ticket rates are Rs 60, Rs 100 and Rs 150.
Reacting on the government order, T Sai Prasad, the secretary of the Vijayawada Film Chamber said the film exhibitors are disappointed with the ticket price fixed by the government.
He said the film exhibitors in the rural area can't screen the movies as it is not viable to screen the movies. He demanded that the government should give some concessions like waiver on power charges.
RV Bhupal Prasad, who has been running a theatre in Vijayawada for the last 60 years said, the film exhibitors will meet in a week in Vijayawada to discuss the problems faced by the theatre owners. He said the film exhibitors are facing many problems due to the lockdown and they need support of the government to run the theatres and screen the movies. The film exhibitors feel that the government to give some concessions like waiver of power charges and increase the ticket rates.
On the other hand, movie lovers in cities like Vijayawada opine that the maximum ticket rate fixed for multiplexes is very high. The highest price fixed at Rs250. However, the film exhibitors can slash the ticket rates if they wish and it should be informed to the concerned authorities.