Dearth of big-budget Bollywood content following the stand-off between producers and multiplexes, coupled with the poor quality of regional films released in the past four months, has kept audiences away from local multiplexes, hitting their margins.
Industry sources say while collections have plummeted, maintenance costs at multiplexes have spiralled in this period.
"In the past four months, except for the Kannada blockbuster 'Junglee', Tamil film 'Ayan' and Telugu films 'Billa' and 'Arundhati', no other film in any language has attracted crowds to multiplexes in Bangalore," said Mukunda Venkatesh, distributor of "Ayan" starring Surya and Tamannah.
Film distributor Ajay Chandani, who has been liaisoning with multiplex chain PVR in releasing new films, agreed. "Collections have dropped considerably. Even in the case of Tamil and Telugu films, collections have fallen drastically except for films like 'Ayan' and 'Billa', which were qualitatively top class," he said.
The much-hyped big-budget movies "Chandni Chowk to China" and Abhishekh Bachchan-starrer "Delhi 6" released in the beginning of the year have flopped miserably.
Industry sources say the occupancy rates in multiplexes in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Mangalore have fallen to about 15 percent of the seating capacity.
In contrast, occupancy during a hit movie like Anurag Kashyap's "Dev D" was as high as 80 percent even in its third week of running across metros.
"Only new Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films are attracting occupancy ratios of more than 30 percent," said a PVR multiplex marketing official who feels the situation would continue till the tussle with film producers was settled and big Bollywood ventures hit the screens again.
The woes of the six multiplexes in Bangalore, which include PVR and two INOX multiplexes, have increased ever since the marketing and distribution of all new Bollywood films were suspended.
Fame Multiplex, Fun Cinemas, Innovative Multiplex and Vision Cinemas are the other multiplexes to be hit.
For instance, Fun Cinemas, which had a very good run in the past two years because of its prime location here, is facing a steep fall in collections mainly because new releases of Hindi films were stopped April 4.
"We have not even recovered one-tenth of one month's cost of maintaining the multiplex," said a Fun Cinemas official on condition of anonymity.
Aping Bollywood producers, even Kannada film producers are now demanding a higher share of revenue from the second week of a film's release, which has further added to the woes of the multiplexes.
Multiplexes till now paid 30 percent of box office collections from the second week, but Kannada film producers now want 50 percent till the third week, and 40 percent up to the fifth week.
In the first week, multiplexes and Kannada film producers share the revenues equally.