Vijayawada: Cinema theatres resumed screening of films after a gap of three months, with 50 per cent occupancy and in strict compliance with Covid-19 protocol across Andhra Pradesh with an exception for East Godavari, on Friday.
Though exhibitors feared a poor turnout of movie buffs to watch the films for fear of the Covid19 conditions, there was a good response on the first day morning show itself. For the matinee show, the turnout was higher.
Second show would remain suspended as the AP government has extended the night curfew from 10pm to 6am the next day up until August 14.
New releases like ‘Ishq: Not A Love Story and Thimmarusu’ helped the exhibitors make a good start to the screening of films.
Exhibitors, distributors and producers held a meeting in Vijayawada on July 29. The executive committee of the Telugu film chamber of commerce also met on Friday to discuss the problems they are facing in the present context.
Exhibitors were unanimous that they can no longer screen the films at the rates of admission fixed by the state government via GO 35 in municipal corporation, municipality, nagar panchayat and gram panchayat areas for some classes. The highest rate fixed was at Rs 250 and lowest at Rs five.
Their main contention is that except for some classes in AC theatres, the rates are no longer remunerative even to meet the maintenance expenditure of theatres.
However, the exhibitors appreciated the state government’s decision to apply curbs on hefty charges being collected from the movie buffs for the screening of benefit shows of high budget films of popular actors.
The meeting appealed to the state government to consider their plea to revise the rates also as they are incurring huge amounts by way of power bills ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 4 lakh per month. This apart, there existed the tax burden and the problem of a decline in revenue collections due to reduced admissions to theatres at 50 per cent occupancy and limit for screening of only three shows a day -- unlike the earlier practice of four -- and payment of wages to nearly 20 to 30 workers for each theatre, apart from other maintenance expenses.
It was alleged that the lion’s share of revenue from the film production and screening is being knocked away by the top actors who charged Rs 40-50 crore and directors Rs 10-15 crore per film, while producers, distributors, exhibitors, artists and workers are bearing the brunt of the enhanced costs in film production and screening for varied reasons.
Meanwhile, no film was screened in East Godavari district as the exhibitors, distributors and producers insisted that their grievances vis-à-vis the rates for admission be redressed first.
Telugu film chamber of commerce vice president Rama Dasu said, “We make an earnest appeal to our CM to address our grievances and help the Telugu film industry revive in AP.”...