Dasari Narayana Rao and others impress upon Kiran that hiking rates would hit small producers

A proposal to hike cinema ticket rates in single screens, numbering about 1,700 across the State, has been put on hold with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy throwing the ball back in the court of the exhibitors, asking for a review.

Interestingly, the proposal was powered, not by the exhibitors/owners of single screen theatres themselves but a few powerful people who are risk-takers and who wanted to make more money in as short a span of time as possible. With films enjoying runs of 50, 75 and 100 days a thing of the past, the formula for making money these days is undisputedly ‘maximum screens, minimum time’.

Last nail in coffin

A small film producer who did not wish to be named said that at a time when filmmakers struggled to get theatres, hiking ticket rates will prove to be the last nail in the coffin. The proposal pending before the Chief Minister was to get the nod for increasing tickets of Rs. 10 to Rs. 25 and of Rs. 60 to Rs. 75 in single screens. Multiplexes were not covered under the proposal.

At a meeting with Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy, director and producer and former Union Minister Dasari Narayana Rao and others are understood to have impressed upon the Chief Minister that hiking rates would hurt small producers.

Considering the low hit rate, it was not the right move at this point of time, they reportedly told Mr. Reddy. In 2012, of the 127 straight Telugu films, only 22 were ‘hits’ (15 small and 7 big budget films) and gave the makers a profit.

Timing faulted

T. Prasanna Kumar, secretary of the Telugu Film Producers’ Council and executive member of the A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that over the years, with the advent of digital media and different media, the number of people going to theatres to watch a film was on the decline. “In such a situation, an increase in admission rates will hit small producers very hard,” he averred.

‘Matter of choice’

An executive committee member in the Film Chamber and an exhibitor who owns four theatres in Kurnool district, T.G. Ravishekhar, however, felt that it was not a question of being for or against a hike in ticket rates. “It is a matter of choice. Vested interests are drawing a vertical line of division among producers and exhibitors. We need to be practical,” he opined.

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