Why is it So Damn Expensive to Watch a Movie in a Theatre?
We all are mad cinegoers. Maybe not the ‘first-day, first show’ kind, but we love to go to the theatre and have a nice evening. But lately, I’ve realised that going out for movies is an expensive affair. You’re not just taking your family for a show, but the government too (thanks to the taxes). Are there any incentives for the cinegoer to come to theatres?
As a family of four, the price of tickets comes to Rs 663.16 (in a state where prices are controlled by the government). Cheap right? Hold on! Don’t forget the Internet handling fee (Rs 141.60) you pay each time you book your tickets online, thus taking it up to Rs 804.76. How does a family of four travel? But obvious, in a car, so a car parking fee of Rs 40 is added and the metre ticks every hour the car is parked there, adding Rs 30. So three hours would be around Rs 90. Now, if we pay Rs 90, the least the management can do is to take care of your vehicle. But the management shrugs the responsibility and your car is left bhagwan ke bharose.
Entering the theatre, you buy two water bottles for Rs 80 with four regular steamed corn for Rs 360 coming to the tally of Rs 440 of which 52% is GST.
For a family of four, to go for a movie in a Chennai multiplex, the total cost comes up to Rs 1,344.76. In states where prices are not controlled, it can easily cost double the amount.
I will pause for that to sink in.
If you were to stream the movie or download it via torrents, it is absolutely muft. If you have the patience to wait and watch it after a few months, then you’ve got Amazon Prime and Netflix for a fraction of the cost.
There is no incentive for the common man, the daily or the monthly wage earner, to spend a major chunk of his salary to take his family to a movie in multiplex theatre.
So is piracy justified? Of course NOT. Nothing justifies stealing the labour of thousands of people.
A scene in the movie Varavu Ettana Selavu Pathana where Nassar takes his family to a movie and ends up with a big hole in his budget isn’t fiction. This big hole in the budget gave birth to the piracy industry. This gap needs to be reduced.
Until that happens, piracy cannot be killed, for piracy was invented to gain from the necessity of the common man to entertain himself and his family without losing a major chunk from his paycheque.
The ticket prices need to come down. But before that, the miscellaneous expenses need to come down. I am talking about the parking charges, the cost of water bottles and popcorns. A packet of two-minute popcorn would probably cost Rs 30, while popcorn for a family inside the theatre would cost around Rs 250.
If the film producers, distributors, and theatre owners are interested in not killing the golden goose that is cinema, they all need to sit face-to-face and talk, execute ways to reduce the net amount a person has to spend to take his family to see a movie in the theatre.
(Anand Balasubramanian is an IT professional. This is a personal blog and the opinions expressed above are the author’s own. You can follow the author on Twitter @absaysthis . The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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