Despite upto 60% drop in prices, Ludhiana cinemas report low occupancy
A month after multiplexes across the district raised their curtains, theatres continue to wear a forlorn look amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite cinemas slashing ticket prices by 60%, rolling out offers on tickets and making calls to customers to apprise them of the said offers, the occupancy remains low at around 35-40%.
The staff says that though all standard operating procedures are being followed, the footfall in theatres is at an all-time low due to no major new releases and fear of contracting the virus, which has left the establishments struggling to stay afloat.
Almost all multiplexes in the city are showing three movies — Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, Peninsula and Chaar Sahibzaade -2 : Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur. Only two to three viewings are slotted per day. With the martyrdom day of the sons of the 10th Sikh guru approaching, multiplex owners are hoping that the footfall will increase.
A ticket counter employee at PVR Cinemas, Flamez Mall, Malhar road, who requested anonymity, said,”The ticket prices have been reduced drastically to attract more customers. During weekdays, the ticket price for a show before noon is just ₹59. Multiple schemes have been launched such as free vouchers on purchasing eatables at multiplexes. However, the occupancy remains low.”
Wave cinemas, Westend Mall, has slashed ticket rates by a whopping 60% as the tickets that were earlier available for ₹200, now merely cost ₹80. “With a second wave of Covid sweeping through the district, people are afraid to venture out to watch a movie,” says an employee.
PVR cinemas, Silver Arc Mallis is not faring any better despite slashing prices upto ₹60. Staff says only 40% occupancy has been witnessed over the last month as most people are unaware that cinemas are open.
The managements, however, expect the situation to improve in the coming days as the footfall is consistently increasing after cinemas were initially allowed to open in November 1.
PVR Cinemas regional manager (marketing) Rohit Sharma said, “The sector is recovering and the response will improve with new releases in the offing.”
However, SRS Cinemas, Omaxe Mall, Ferozepur Road and Solitaire Cinemas at JMD Govardhan City Centre (near Jagraon bridge) are yet to raise their shutters.
Many cinephiles say they would be willing to return to the multiplexes once some interesting movies release. A Shastri Nagar resident Gurpreet Kaur said, “I was planning to catch a movie with my husband this week, but no new movie has been released. Besides, our parents are advising us against visiting theatres amid the spurt in Covid cases.”
No more night shows amid curfew
After imposition of night curfew in the state till December 15, multiplexes are rescheduled shows so that visitors get free by 9 to 9:30pm. No show is being scheduled after 6:45pm.
The staff said the imposition of night curfews was a pity as the night shows were very popular among theatre-goers.