Vijayawada: Several film exhibitors are planning to stop screening of films in theatres in the state due to poor collection at the box office for varied reasons. The only time exhibitors have had good collections was during the Sankranti release of the Nagarjuna starrer ‘Bangarraju’.
Exhibitors say that the reemergence of Covid-19 is keeping viewers off theatres. Many are switching over to over the top (OTT) platforms.
This comes on top of the government capping occupancy at 50 per cent and limiting shows to three per day. The exhibitors have unsuccessfully asked for a fourth show, and relaxation of the night curfew till 12 am to give night show audiences to reach home.
The uncertainty seems to be having its impact on film production and release of big budget films. The Rajamouli-directed ‘RRR’ starring Junior NTR and Ram Charan has been put off to March or April.
M. Ramesh, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce secretary for AP and TS, “With no good collections, some exhibitors are planning to stop screening of films in theatres which are found to be unviable. Some theatres are even unable to earn daily maintenance charges.”
Telugu film industry sources say that a bone of contention is the low ticket rates fixed by the government, with a economy class non-AC theatre seat in a gram panchayat area costing Rs 5. Sources were critical of the lack of collective effort among all stakeholders in the industry to approach the government and preferring to go individually.
With the government setting up a panel to discuss the issue, sources said the ticket rates should be Rs 150, Rs 100 and Rs 50 in urban centres and Rs 100, Rs 50 and Rs 25 in rural areas.
East Godavari Film Distributors Association president Challa Sankara Rao said, “We have nearly 100 theatres in our district. In the next few days, several theatre will stop screening of films as the exhibitors are finding it unviable due to poor collections. The government should take a quick decision by revising rates upwards, especially in rural areas. Any delay will affect the very survival of the film industry in the long run.”
AP has nearly 1,200 film theatres and the film industry has welcomed the government’s move to sell tickets online to avoid anomalies in payment of taxes....