After Megastar Chiranjeevi, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Pawan Kalyan and Raghavendra Rao, actor Siddharth took the baton to openly question the AP government over fixed ticket pricing at theatres in Andhra Pradesh State.
Andhra Pradesh has more than 800 movie theatres and Telugu producers, who usually bet big in the region, are likely to face the brunt, this Sankranthi festival.
There are a slew of Telugu flicks starting with ‘Pushpa’, ‘RRR’, ‘Radhe Shyam’ slated to release for Sankranthi season. The AP state, which has over 800 single screens and multiplexes, accounts for a 60 per cent overall business in Telugu States. However, the AP government led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wanted the number of shows to be fixed apart from implementing fixed ticket rates in various centres. A bill was also passed in the AP Legislative Assembly to implement it.
Why no takers for big-ticket films in AP
The price of a ticket in a non-AC theatre in rural villages starts at Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 15 in Andhra Pradesh while for AC theatres prices are as low as Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 20. For multiplexes in villages, the prices are Rs 30, 50 and Rs 80.
For municipality areas, the prices of non-AC theatres are capped at Rs 15, 30 and Rs 50. For multiplexes, it is Rs 60, Rs 100 and Rs 150. For municipal corporation cities, the price range is Rs 75, Rs 150 and Rs 250 per ticket.
Telugu producers, filmmakers, film distributors and exhibitors complain they are affected by the government’s move in multiple ways. Distributors are less-likely to shell out money to buy big-ticket films for the existing ticket prices in the State.
Producers rue that films that already did business before Covid-induced pandemic and the films releasing after pandemic, have to face difficulties.
The State government brought down ticket prices to collect taxes properly. It also reasoned that it can streamline the system by bringing online ticketing rather than relying on the counter sale numbers that are provided by theatres. Previously, filmmakers would pocket good business with benefit shows just before the release. However, producers are bothered with the fixed number of shows apart from low fares.
Low ticket prices likely to benefit small-budget films?
There’s a perception that small-budget films would see the light of the day due to low ticket pricing. Since audiences would not like to shell out a premium price for a small-budget film, the scenario is likely to change the fate of small filmmakers at the box office.
Not viable for makers to sell for low prices!
The production cost has gone up over the last few years due to changing trends in the filmmaking business. Input costs including actors’ remuneration, vfx and technical costs too have gone, leaving a hole in the pocket for any producer in trade. So fiml producers lament that selling a movie for such low prices is less viable.
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