Movies on big screen costlier come Monday
FOLLOWING the recent implementation of the local entertainment tax of 10% on Tamil films and 20% on non-Tamil films, the government has now increased the base price of tickets from `120. This move comes after several requests from the industry, urging the government to revise ticket prices. “Representatives from Tamil cinema have expressed that the industry is facing difficulties due to piracy, a general increase in expenses and the recently implemented tax. The associations further stated that in view of the introduction and enforcement of the Goods and Services Tax, they are not in a position to make films and operate theatres at the existing rates of admission. They have requested that the government revise the rates of admission to theatres,” a government press release stated. It will apply from October 9. A ticket will now cost `192 (150+28%GST) in Chennai.
Commenting on this revision, Sasi Raman, Director of TicketNew, said, “This will likely affect everyone involved including our advertisement and branding partners. The effective hike, when you take into account all the recent taxes, is a mere `4. There might be a general perception that the theatres stand to gain from this move, but I’m not so sure. As it is, the turnout at the theatres has taken a hit. Do you know that theatres reduced base fare to less than 100 to ensure they fall under the 18%GST?” He also pointed out that this could affect nonTamil films in a big way. “Why will anyone screen a film which will have a lesser turnout?”
Top distributor Tirupur Subramaniam is unhappy too. “It looks like the government is not aware of the consequences this will have on the small players. This is not what we wanted,” he said. “We are not going to accept this. I’m not saying that a price ceiling is wrong, but let there be only four classifications: Greater Chennai sub-classified into AC and Non-AC theatres and a similar classification for the non-Chennai theatres. Also, I still don’t understand how double taxation is right.”
MANI Verma who runs the Madurai Impala Theatre and is also the Secretary of the Madurai Theatre Association painted a gloomy picture too. “Why is there a difference in the base price for various regions when we all end up paying the same to the government? Is the price we pay for electricity and other taxes any different from other theatres? How can I run an AC theatre for 3 hours by charging just `19? We might as well sell off the theatres,” Verma said.
Niklesh Surya, managing director of Rohini Theatres, said that theatres like his which have spent a lot on incorporating the latest technology stand to lose a lot. “Give us an option to price the tickets. Don’t fix a standard price for all films,” he remarked.
While the government has announced that the base prices have been increased, negotiations are still on. “We are having a meeting with representa- tives from the government on Tuesday. We need clarity about what seem like ambiguities,”
Vishal, the President of the Tamil Nadu Film Producers’ Council, said. But he is clear on the solution he seeks. “I think all these problems would be solved if this new entertainment tax gets abolished.”
I don’t understand why there’s a big deal about the price rise because, for the past 10 years, it has been the same. Compared to other cities, we are nominal. I think it’s not going to affect the movie-goers, said Subbu, Kasi Theatre. Speaking along the same lines, Ruban, of GK Cinemas, added, “Only in multiplexes, people have to spend around Rs 240-260. In single screens, it’s not so. Including the revision of GST, it’s going to be around Rs 160, which is affordable. This will actually help more people coming into single screens, who don’t want to pay three times this amount. But this double taxation can be avoided.”