Last month, I went to watch ‘Brahmastra’ in the theatres with my family. It was a multiplex and we bought tickets for the 3D film along with popcorn and drinks. I still haven’t gotten over the massive hole that the outing burnt in my pocket, just like I won’t be able to get over the crappy dialogues of the film.
I remember, 9 years back, I watched The Dark Knight Returns at a popular multiplex and it only cost me Rs 99 for the morning show. Today, if I want to watch a similar-scale movie in the multiplex, it will cost me Rs 350 minimum. Now add taxes and popcorn and a medium glass of cold drinks (which basically has more ice than the drink) and you’ll be short of Rs 1000. The thing is, most people don’t want to pay that heavy an amount to watch a film in the theatres and might as well wait for the film to release on OTT.
And people wonder why the audience isn’t going to the theatres. This is why!
Manoj Desai, who is the Executive Director of G7 multiplex and Maratha Mandir Cinema, recently announced that he will be slashing the prices of tickets in his theatres.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make as several other multiplexes called him, asking him to change his decision and film distributors even threatened him.
In a conversation with Hindustan Times, Manoj Desai said:
“I know that multiplexes won’t cut their ticket rates. In fact, they’re not liking this step taken by us. I won’t take names, but I got a few calls telling me things like, ‘Aap prices kam kar lete ho to humein nuksaan hota hai’. But it doesn’t affect me. I’ll continue to slash the ticket prices if that would result in more people coming to the theatres. It’s better than having vacant seats in the cinema hall.”
He went on to add that the multiplexes are for the rich. Middle-class families, who have 4-5 mouths to feed, cannot afford to pay a lot of money to the theatres.
“Multiplexes are for rich people, who want to spend thousands on tickets and food. Jis public ko paise ki padi nahi hai, wo waha jaakar enjoy karle. But, middle class family mein, jahan 4-5 log ho, toh unka toh poora salary chala jayega ek hi film dekhne me.”
Manoj Desai further made it clear that slashing ticket prices is better than watching empty cinema halls.
” I want Gaiety Galaxy and Maratha Mandir to be the places where people continue to come for the experience. If I’ve to cut the ticket price, I’ll happily do that. We are suffering because movies are failing. Hum pehle bhi rate nahi badhaate the, but distributers ne dadagiri chaalu kari. They said, ‘If you won’t increase the ticket prices, we won’t give you the movies’. This happened multiple times in the last four months. I can’t name the films or the distributors because I’ve to work with them in future as well, but after thinking about the situation, we clearly told them that it’s their wish to give us their picture or not.”
In September, on the occasion of National Cinema Day, multiplexes announced that movie tickets will be available for Rs 75. As many as 6.5 million people from across the country went to cinema halls that day to watch films, reported The Hindu.
The ticket prices of Gaiety and Maratha Mandir will be reduced from ₹140 and ₹170 to ₹130 and ₹150, respectively, from November 21.
Clearly, more than the content, the prices are the problem.