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Hrithik Roshan with 'Krrish 3' and Shah Rukh Khan with 'Chennai Express' have milked the festive spirit to drive box office collections for their films to record heights. This has been increasingly happening of late as mega-budget ventures with big stars prefer to release their films during festivals. With theatre owners hiking the price of tickets, Screen investigates the rippling effect such a move generates at the box-office.
During festival time, a bonanza of mega-budget, big star films hit the marquee. This Diwali, irrespective of a hike in the movie’s ticket rate, the much-anticipated Krrish 3 released to packed houses. Of late, inflated ticket prices have become synonymous with the festive season. The ticket cost for Krrish 3 at multiplexes is Rs 480, while the single screen ticket cost goes up to Rs 200 as opposed to their normal price of Rs 350-400 and Rs 100-150 for multiplexes and single-screens respectively.
Distributors and exhibitors are unanimous in their opinion that an increase in the ticket rates help to generate good revenue within a short span of time at the box-office. A notable example this year was Chennai Express that released on Eid and went on to earn Rs 156.70 crore in its first week and became the fastest film to enter the Rs.100-crore club. “It does help with the box-office numbers as people are ready to spend big bucks on that particular occasion,” says Shyam Shroff, Director, Shringar Films. He firmly believes that it is better to make money and encash on the inflated ticket rates, instead of letting the black-marketeers earn quick bucks.
Mayank Shroff, Manager, Programming and Film Marketing, Cinepolis, adds, “Films that have released during festivals in the past have proved that they’ve worked because of good content. People do not mind spending a little more not just at the cinemas, but also at restaurants or on holiday trips. It’s a good season, so there is generally a 10-15 per cent price hike.”
The industry parlance for such mega ticket releases, that are driven by star power are called festival Fridays or blockbuster Fridays. The high production costs are effectively covered up by increasing the ticket rates. People do not mind spending money to watch their favourite stars. At other times too, mainly on weekends, multiplexes like PVR or Big Cinemas may also charge more. However, single screens are slightly conservative when it comes to hiking the price.