PVR Betting Big on Kalki Box Office

PVR, a 25-year-old brand with 1,557 screens across the country, including IMAX, PXL, 4DX, MX4D, Director’s Cut, Insignia, ICE, and ScreenX projection systems, expects Rs 300 crore in revenue from Kalki 2898 AD over the weekend. Nearly 40 of these screens are in South India. Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Executive Director of PVR INOX, told Deccan Chronicle that their Dolby Atmos sound and 4K laser projectors will help achieve this target.

How does PVR INOX’s diverse format strategy cater to different audience preferences, and what has led to this approach?
We have a diverse strategy in terms of the types of properties we open. India is a macro market for us, and our product is needed in all markets, be it metros, non-metros, tier-two cities, or tier-three cities. From the beginning, we have been conscious not to ignore any market or micro-market. Our strategy is to grow across the country. For example, in the last three months, we opened a 14-screen megaplex in Bangalore, since people here have a very high propensity to watch films. Featuring formats like IMAX, 4DX, Playhouse, and recliners is really giving the city a Mecca of films. We have also opened a three-screen cinema in Machilipatnam, a small city in Andhra Pradesh.
Do you focus on the right locations and partners for your cinemas?
Yes, we are always very conscious about choosing the right locations and development partners. The mall housing our cinema needs to be well-made and well-maintained, as our customers come through the mall. It's important to have a good developer and development partners, and the location must have a sufficient catchment area to support the cinema. So the one that we opened last week in Gachibowli is surrounded not only by the IT corridor of Hyderabad but universities where there is a large student population. It is not very far from Hitech city.
Where do you see the most footfalls and return on investment (ROI) among your formats?
Among our various formats, 4DX has performed the best. These smaller auditoriums, with about 80 to 90 seats, offer a unique sensory experience through sound, movement, smell, touch, and feel. This format has been well-received by consumers, showing a high return on investment.
Considering PVR is an established brand with loyal customers, have you considered a standalone model?
We do have some standalone single screens and multiplexes in our portfolio, but they do not perform as well as those in malls. People prefer multiplexes for the variety of films and timings they offer. Even standalone multiplexes are limited, as being housed in a mall provides additional anchors and activities that enhance the overall experience.
Why focus on the southern market, and how does this fit into PVR’s growth strategy?
Well, South India has always been very lucrative for us because of the higher propensity to spend on films. Our numbers in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, and Kochi are promising and higher than in other regions. This makes South India a focal point for us, with significant returns. We will continue to seek great opportunities in the South.
How are returns from other regions in India?
Besides the South, we are currently getting good returns from East India. The multiplex proliferation is not very high in the East, making recent projects in Guwahati and Bhubaneswar very successful. Kolkata also gives good returns. Following the South, the East performs well, with North and West regions behaving similarly, and Central India coming last.
How about tier-two cities?
Tier-two cities in South India provide better returns. We have not expanded into tier-two cities in the East as much yet. North and West tier-two cities perform quite similarly to each other.
How does PVR adapt to changing audience demands and events like the World Cup and elections?
Events like elections and the World Cup can temporarily dampen the box office. Producers often avoid releasing films during elections, and cinemas may be asked to close on election days. However, this is cyclical and temporary. Despite such events, films like Kalki have achieved success, indicating a certain fatigue with cricket among audiences.
How does PVR plan to capitalise on the success of South Indian movies?
We already have a strong presence in South India, with 580 of our 1,557 screens located there. We plan to add more properties, with new openings in Hyderabad, Udli, and Coimbatore this year.
What are PVR INOX’s expectations from Kalki’s box office performance?
It seems to be heading towards Rs 100 crore at the box office. And fingers crossed, that's a huge number. And if the momentum remains, if it stays like this, and the reviews are also very positive, word of mouth is great, then we are expecting a Rs 300 crore weekend, which is fabulous.
How does technology like 4K laser projectors enhance the cinematic experience at PVR INOX properties?
Technologies like 4K laser projectors and Dolby Atmos sound systems offer ultra-sharp visuals and realistic sound quality. These advanced technologies raise the bar of the cinema experience, which is much different from watching a movie at home.
Do you have any plans for the independent film distribution landscape?
Yes, we distribute a lot of independent films through our subsidiary, PVR Pictures, which has been in business for 20 years. We release about 30 films a year, including English language and anime films. This division contributes to our revenue, and we expect further growth.
How do Indian films perform compared to foreign films?
Indian films perform better at the box office, contributing more than Hollywood films, which account for about 8 to 10 per cent of the overall box office revenue.
Any new initiatives from PVR INOX in the future?
We are coming up with new initiatives on ticket, food and beverage pricing, and besides making the food and beverage menu more varied. We are also doing a passport subscription, a plan that was launched two months ago, and already got three lakh subscribers. On the technology front, we are coming up with a user-friendly app that we plan to launch early next year, that app will help our customers book tickets with ease.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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