The fact that many films are now opting for a direct-to-digital release hasn’t been going down well with the exhibitors. They feel that producers aren’t supporting them in this crisis by releasing big films like Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi on OTT platforms. They have even voiced their disappointment to the filmmakers.
However, netizens have commented on the multiplex owners by reminding them that they too had made single screens suffer. Some even went on to advice them to turn to grocery business since they have become experts selling popcorn for Rs 350, samosas for Rs 150 and water for Rs 100.
Reacting to this, Mohan Umrotkar, CEO, Carnival Cinemas, said, “You pay for not just the food but also the ambience. It’s a business model. We don’t earn much from the sales of the ticket as that money is divided among the government, distributers and us. That why food is integral to our business.” He explained that this is all that the owners have in addition to expenses like rent and overheads unlike producers who can monetise satellite, digital and music rights of the film. Whereas, there’s actually very little left for theatre owners.
Akshay Rathi, who is a theatre owner from Nagpur explains that choosing a multiplex or a single screen has a lot to do with the spending capacity of the consumer. He says, “The difference between the two is akin to choosing between a five-star hotel and a roadside dhaba. And we have both billionaires and commoners in our country. He’s confident that with the ongoing pandemic and the recession, single screens will see better days.
Meanwhile, Raj Bhansal, a multiplex owner from Jaipur opines that movie goers can be lured back to theatres by proving them with incentives like affordable ticket rates, free coupons and discounts on snacks and beverages.