Trade Winds Movies

Why Chengalpet is the biggest territory for Kollywood box office

With 71 release stations and about 210 screens, this territory contributes to a majority of the State’s total gross theatrical revenue

Chengalpet is the new goldmine for Tamil cinema. In film trade, Chengalpet is the biggest territory, stretching from East Coast Road toll booth to Red Hills and from Guindy to Chengalpet town (including Kanchipuram). It has currently 71 release stations and about 210 screens, almost one-fourth of the total screens in Tamil Nadu. Today, 30% of the total box-office collections for a big hero Tamil movie come from this area, which has one of the highest footfalls in India. Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam has become a superhit, thanks to its huge collections in Chengalpet area. Even an offbeat film like Pariyerum Perumal is getting more shows in Chengalpet multiplexes than Chennai city.

Chengalpet has changed the way Tamil films are made. Today’s audiences come from the 3 Cs — Chennai city, Chengalpet and Coimbatore — and decide the Tamil Nadu box office. 60 to 65% of the total gross theatrical revenue from Tamil Nadu comes from 3Cs. A few years ago, this was about 25 to 30% while the rest came from other six areas in Tamil Nadu (North and South Arcot, Salem, Trichy-Thanjavur, Madurai, Tirunelveli-Kanyakumari).

A multiplex boom is taking place in Chengalpet area, which already has 85% of the multiplexes in the State. The area was once part of NSC (North-South Arcot and Chengalpet), but now, Chennai city has expanded into neighbouring villages under the Chennai Metropolitan Development Area (CMDA).

In film trade, Chengalpet is the biggest territory, stretching from East Coast Road Toll to Red Hills, and from Guindy to Chengalpet Town

In film trade, Chengalpet is the biggest territory, stretching from East Coast Road Toll to Red Hills, and from Guindy to Chengalpet Town  

Veteran distributor K Mahalingam, distribution head at AGS Entertainment, explains, “The growth of Chengalpet as a theatre hub has been phenomenal. It has maximum educational institutes ensuring a huge student population. This forms the bulk of a film’s opening. The students also have the craze to watch the films on the first day itself. A unique thing about Chengalpet is that both mass and class movies co-exist. The online sale of tickets in Tamil Nadu is highest in this area.”

Last week, AGS Cinemas opened its fourth property and third standalone multiplex in Chengalpet area in Maduravoyal, close to CMBT bus terminal and Ramachandra University. The five-screen, state-of-the-art, 1650-seater multiplex has reported 92% occupancy in the first five days of its opening. Archana Kalpathi, CEO of AGS Cinemas, says, “This property in Maduravoyal is our first green initiative with paperless ticketing, plastic-free food packaging (pure vegetarian) and part of the power comes from solar panels. We have huge screens, ample leg space between rows, 4K projection, Dolby Atmos, five-star ambience and good parking space. And tickets are priced at affordable rates.”

Why Chengalpet is the biggest territory for Kollywood box office

Archana agrees that Chengalpet has an edge over other areas in Tamil Nadu due to high footfalls. Archana says, “I believe cinema has to be an affordable experience. The craze for movies in Tamil Nadu is mainly because ticket prices were low. Our concept is that the common man will watch at least two films a month with his family. A family of four watching a film in any of our properties should not spend more than ₹1000 on tickets, popcorn and cola. My vision is affordable cinema viewing. As a policy, we will not get into high-end luxury screens.” Archana believes in building and running her own multiplexes and her next big project will be a state-of-the-art multiplex in Chengalpet town.

WS Raja of Odeon Mani, a single screen in Thiruvottriyur, says, “The rise of multiplexes has forced single screens in Chengalpet area to upgrade to latest technology at affordable rates as our clientèle is mostly the labour class. Our collections have improved with renovation and cinema will remain the most popular form of entertainment for the common man.”

Meanwhile, a big multiplex boom is happening in Chengalpet area. In the next few weeks, PVR will open their new high-end 10-screen multiplex, including an IMAX screen, at VR Mall in Anna Nagar West. The PVR on ECR (near the toll plaza) is also slated to be open by the end of this year. One of the world’s biggest multiplex chains, the Mexico-based Cinepolis, is set to open a multiplex on the Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram radial road. And another major group, Carnival Cinemas, is opening a six-screen multiplex near a theme park in Poonamallee. As per industry estimate, 27 screens will open in Chengalpet territory on or before Pongal 2019, and by 2022, 100 screens will be added. Kollywood is in an exciting phase as Tamil cinema content is fast changing to suit the taste of these audiences, who now call the shots.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:56:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/chengalpet-the-new-goldmine-for-tamil-cinema/article25103928.ece

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