If movie-goers are lucky, they might soon be able to get tickets at slightly lower rates. The Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation appealed to the State government last month requesting it to permit more flexibility in pricing of the tickets. It is awaiting a response and hopes that it comes before the festive season when many new films will be released.
“Within the range permitted by the government, we should be able to alter the denominations depending on the film and the time of the show,” said Abirami Ramanathan, president of the Federation.
For instance, if there is not much demand for the night show at a particular theatre, the theatre owner should be able to lower the prices, he said, adding such an option is not available now.
Ticket prices, however, could be standardised across the State based on whether the theatre falls in the multiplex, air-conditioned or non-air conditioned category.
Theatre owners also want the government to relax the restriction on the number of shows. At present, only four shows are permitted daily, except on holidays when five are permitted. “We could stick to the time limits of 9 a.m. to 1.30 a.m., but have more shows in between. In the long run, that might encourage filmmakers here to consider making shorter films, too,” he said.
Much of the revenue generated in theatres is during the first two, three weeks after a film is released. With competition from other forms of entertainment, the pirated DVD menace and the internet where several films are available for download, theatres could do with more flexibility, say theatre owners. It was in 2007, that the State government put a cap on maximum rates that a theatre could charge. The rates had to fall between Rs.85 and Rs.120 per ticket, depending on the facilities offered. There are theatres that charge between a minimum of Rs.10 (for the first few rows near the screen) to Rs.120.
“We are not asking the government to let us hike the prices. We need more flexibility and regularisation,” Mr. Ramanathan said.
Enquiries with some city multiplexes revealed they had not heard of a possible revision or change. Queried on whether a decision had been taken on the appeal, sources in the State government said no decision had been taken as yet. Film goers, however, said that more options in tickets might draw them to the cinemas more often. Swapnil Midha, a movie-goer, said she would not mind a small hike (Rs.10-20) in the price of tickets, provided the seats particularly are good.
“Introducing more options in the denominations, possibly depending on where the seats are, will be even better. After all, we pay quite a bit for the parking and food. A cheaper ticket will be good,” she said.
All the same, Ms. Midha feels Chennai is one of the best cities to watch films in the theatres. “It is only when you travel that you realise it is very expensive in other cities.”