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Will popcorn at theatres be affordable?

Monday, May 18, 2020 • Telugu Comments

Will popcorn at theatres be affordable?

Every middle-class and low-income class film goer like to watch a film at a good well maintained theater with comfortable seating and toilets that are clean along with some affordable snacks. Some can't wait to talk on phones or talk to others beside them which annoys most of the people at the screening but that is a different topic for different discussion.

Now, OTT wave is happening and there is no denial that people who encourage piracy are finding it easy to pay monthly charges for premium services at these OTT platforms or even just wait till piracy websites give high quality web rips on their sites after OTT release. Either way, most of the theater going audiences are limiting their visits.

If someone comes up with a huge hit film or with a film like Baahubali, where its box office status doesn't matter, we see spike in footfalls. Sankranthi season of 2020, saw two big star hit films - Sarileru Neekevvaru and Ala Vaikuntapurramuloo fighting at the box office but both turned out to be profitable ventures as people did not care about ticket hike and footfalls for both were high.

Producers even publicised that AVPL won't release on popular OTT platforms to attract more USA crowd but the brand of Trivikram Srinivas and combination of Trivikram-Allu Arjun-Pooja Hegde worked like magic at the OS Box Office too.

The same did not repeat for other films and in fact some films turned out to be big disasters because of the ticket hike. Telugu Governments seem to be worried about ticket hike post lockdown and as theaters could be the spaces or places where the virus spread scare is high, they are not ready to open them until the number of cases is at least at controllable rate.

Will popcorn at theatres be affordable?

Producers have turned to OTT platform release of their films and many are discussing with different platforms for a fair price agreement and also they are looking at Satellite premieres, which could be more lucrative. Either way, producers are interested in reducing the financial stress more than giving an "Experience", at this stage.

Hence, it is theatres now, who have to decide on how they operate? An actor turned producer like Suriya said that he doesn't get any amount back when his films collect overflows at box office and he also said that no one else should dictate terms for him on how to release his film.

Also, producers have been trying to get distributors and exhibitors on one word about flexible ticket pricing and one show daily for small budget films. This has to be agreed by government but if 90% of Industry asks for it, Government won't go against it. The only scary part is that the highest level of ticket price will be unimaginably high while lowest will have a limit.

Government sources say that they are working on this aspect with producers, but exhibitors are not ready to go for lowest posible limits for hikes. If nothing seems to work out producers have OTT as an option and Satellite rights too.

Lockdown has made many people get used to watching stuff on mobile or laptop screens. Even if they will run into theatres for a big film or popular hero film after lockdown to just get the experience, not every film will find same support. So, what can theatres do now, to keep the initial surge of audiences coming back to theaters, and nullify OTT threat?

Will popcorn at theatres be affordable?

We believe they can first reduce the price of snacks which will encourage families to make sure that they visit theatres at least once a month. Introduce affordable packages and snack-bars that will encourage youth to pick a spot for their hangouts. If they just go for hike in prices on everything showing that they had to shut operations for 6 months, then they might be in rude shock with audience boycotting them.

Not even the rich might encourage such operative methods, hereafter! They can just convert one room at their mansions or big houses into mini-theatres. Ball is in the big multiplex and theatre owners court to counter the OTT aggression, which might just turn a lucrative profit sharing business for producers if situation further decays.

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