A couple of years ago, I used to go to medium sized individual stores to buy apparels and to single theatres to watch movies. The scenario has changed only recently. Now we have plush malls with multiplexes in the top floors to watch movies, shop for apparels and even food stuff. These malls add colour to the city, making it secure in the broadway of globalization. With the advent of malls, cinema goers prefer to watch movies in the multiplexes rather than going to the city theatres. Multiplex business has gained steady momentum in the metros and they soon undertook the risk of broadening their network to the non-metros. And now we have multiplexes in hill stations like Darjeeling, and in medium sized cities like Mangalore, Ghaziabad, Goa, Lucknow, Thane, Jaipur, Nasik and numerous small towns. In cities such as Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai the ticket prices are comparatively higher than non metros. During weekdays, the prices of tickets vary from Rs.150- Rs.200 in the metros and soars up during the weekends making the tickets available at Rs.200-Rs250. The morning shows are priced at Rs 60.00, Rs 80.00 or Rs 100.00 attracting the school and college folk. The profit margin is slightly different in the non metros, classified according to their affordability factor, taste and preferences. The price of tickets in non metros varies from Rs 80.00 to Rs 100.00 during the week in the small towns. The food and beverage counter has also attained a booming business from their established food stalls in the multiplexes. These multiplexes have smartly refused to allow food inside the theatres giving it the name of ‘cleanliness’ whereas this is completely a business oriented approach to attain commission from the food stall owners and give them effective business.
The single theatres have lost the most in this multiplex run. Most of the population is able to afford the multiplexes and hence these theatres are flocked only by the lower middle class which seldom cares to watch a movie. I have noticed that these single theatres have started to feature Tollywood or other Indian language movies rather than Bollywood or Hollywood Movies. Globe Theatre, Kolkata is one of the most popular theatre in my city featuring classics, English documentary or Hollywood movies and used to be populated by distinctive crowd. However, the number of movie-watchers at these theatres has declined at a steady pace and now visiting these halls, one can witness numerous empty seats. Individual theatres are in the verge of closing down as the intensity of loss cannot be borne for long in comparison to the cost incurred in putting up a movie and maintenance expenses.
The first multiplex that emerged in my city Kolkata was Inox (PVR Cinemas) at the Forum Mall, Kolkata. Since then we have witnessed the coming of 89 Cinemas, Fame, Big Cinemas (Adlabs) and now the IMAX. 89 Cinemas has been acquired by Inox last year and now we have three Inox multiplexes in the city scattered in different zones. The Indian population has been bitten by the Bollywood bug in the days of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Catching one glimpse of their favourite movie stars is the fulfilment of one of the most important dreams for many Indians. Movie stars visit these multiplexes in order to promote their movies and thereby fulfilling many such dreams. No wonder these multiplexes are flocked by people all the time while the individual theatres are running out of business! PVR Cinemas has branched to PVR talkies for the small town business under this separate brand name. Multiplex constitute 2%-3% of the total number of individual halls however the range of movies that the feature at one time and the convenience that they offer has won over hearts and has gone beyond the metros. Real estate players such as DLF have invested crores in Multiplex business with the surety of it flourishing now and in the long run. With the advent of multiplexes it is not only prosperity of cinema but also of the business profitability factor.