KAKINADA: Film exhibitors are reluctant to sign agreements with state government on sale of online tickets, as they have already signed MoUs in this regard with private online portals like BookMyShow, Paytm, Just a Ticket and Easy Ticket, among others.
Government officials have sent agreement papers to every theatre owner, instructing them to sign agreements over sale of online tickets within 24 hours and indicate their compliance. However, legal experts have advised exhibitors not to sign these papers as they have already entered into an agreement with another portal. If theatre owners enter into a new agreement, they will have to face legal consequences.
Private portals have reportedly given amounts to exhibitors on reaching agreements with the former. If theatre owners reach an agreement with the government, they will have to repay the amounts given with interest.
Kakinada Exhibitors Association secretary G. Srinivas said: “Theatre owners are unable to return amounts to private online portals as they are in crisis after Covid-19 pandemic. In some areas, exhibitors are ready to give their cinema halls on lease if anybody pays them â¹50,000 per month. That is the situation of exhibitors,” Srinivas observed.
Many theatre owners have doubts about state government’s commitment in adhering to its part of agreement on sale of online tickets. They point out that government issued a GO one and half years ago waiving three months of power bills payable by theatre owners during Coronavirus pandemic. But the GO has not been implemented so far.
“Under the circumstances, how can we believe the government will repay the amount of ticket sales the next day? If it does not, how can theatres survive,” asked a cinema hall owner. According to exhibitors’ association, private portals are already crediting the ticket money the very next morning.
Exhibitors say if just four or five persons buy a ticket, theatre owners cannot afford to run the show. Their tickets would be cancelled. Under such circumstances, private portals give incentives to viewers like one-plus-one power if a show is cancelled. “Will the government do so? If state government wants to sell online cinema tickets on behalf of theatres, it should redress all these issues,” an exhibitor underlined.
Theatre owners have met cinematography minister Ch. Srinivasa Venugopala Krishna and explained to him these issues. He reportedly promised them that the government will negotiate with exhibitors in addressing these issues.