The 75 effect: Ticket prices again slashed to 100 at theatres, industry learns it’s lesson?

Published on Sep 27, 2022 03:31 PM IST

September 23, 2022 will probably go down in history as the day maximum number of people thronged the movie theatres, all because of one thing- a ticket price of just ₹75

Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra and Dulquer Salmaan’s Chup benefited from the <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>75 ticket bonanza recently.
Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra and Dulquer Salmaan’s Chup benefited from the 75 ticket bonanza recently.
ByRishabh Suri

September 23, 2022 will probably go down in history as the day maximum number of people thronged the movie theatres, all because of one thing- a ticket price of just 75. At a time when everything is becoming more expensive, this bonanza saw a positive response from the movie-goers, who just wanted to avail the offer anyhow, and willing to watch just about any film available. From Brahmastra being sold out in almost all theatres, to Chup: Revenge of the Artist, Dhokaa: Round the Corner, every film benefited.

And learning their lesson, the cheap pricing model has extended itself again, starting September 26 to September 29. Ticket rates have been reduced to 100 for normal shows, plus GST, which comes out to be approximately 112. What’s interesting is that the festive period has begun from Monday, which is the Navratras, and ticket prices are usually hiked during this phase.

TESTING THE WATERS

The industry feels the current four days are a litmus test for the future to follow. Rajender Jyala, chief programming officer, INOX Leisure tells us, “After seeing a positive response to the 75 day, we thought let’s experiment for some more time, whether the lower ticket prices get the same response the other days also, or was it just a one-day phenomena. If it gets the same response, then we can discuss with our stakeholders and distributors about this in the future also.”

Films such as Chup weren’t the run-of-the-mill commercial film, says the director R Balki, himself. But the cheap pricing made people give it a chance. “It is for the audience, but doesn’t immediately position itself as a mass film. We shot it in a controlled budget, but what the 75 pricing did was beautiful. It opened us up to the simple fact that so many people want to come to the theatres, it’s only the price which keeps them away. It’s clear now, what are we waiting for, I don’t understand!,” he shares.

MORE PEOPLE VS MORE PRICES

The focus should be on getting more people to the theatres, than just making one ticket expensive, feels exhibitor Akshaye Rathi. He argues that the strength of the Indian market is not it’s income, but it’s population. “A lot of people in the business only focus on earning money than having people in the cinemas. But some of the greatest businesses in the country have only focused on that one figure: 1.5 billion. I hope the movie going business can go back to being more accessible. We won’t just have higher ticket sales, but also food and beverage sales, revenues from cinema advertising, parking... we should be a volume targeting sector,” he reasons.

FESTIVE PERIOD ALWAYS SEES HIKES

The festive period is usually accompanied by hiked ticket prices, as mostly all big ticket offerings are released during these times. Why reduce prices specifically during this phase then? Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says it’s because people are in the mood to spend during this time. “They travel, shop and watch films. When you keep tickets as low as 75 and 100 on weekdays, it’s a great idea. The hike wasn’t the case earlier, it was only after the advent of multiplexes that it started. Budgets of films started soaring, that’s when people decided to increase ticket prices during festive periods,” he shares.

What cannot be missed is the fact that the ticket prices have only been reduced until September 29, and the next day Hrithik Roshan- Saif Ali Khan’s Vikram Vedha releases. Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan 1 also hits the screens the same day. The cheap prices won’t apply to these.

Jala says producers of all films have had apprehensions these years that if the budget is high, and ticket prices are low, the recovery won’t happen. “If the cheap pricing model works long-term, then we can find a sweet spot. Vikram Vedha will play at regular pricing, so will PS 1. Brahmastra is in it’s fourth week, so we know what response we can get,” he says.

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