It’s not an uncommon practice to raise the prices of tickets when a film, headlined by big stars, is gearing up for release. However, if you thought that it deterred the audience from flocking to the theatres, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sample this: A ticket of Shah Rukh Khan-Anushka Sharma starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal, which releases today, has been priced at Rs 2,400 at PVR Director’s Cut in Delhi.
A quick online check will tell you that the amount is almost equivalent to a one-way air ticket from Mumbai to Goa.
But, looks like no price is too steep for Khan’s fans. The Imtiaz Ali-directed film saw a huge demand in advance booking at this theatre in Delhi. As a result, the love story raked in a whopping Rs 12,15,600 from this screen alone, even before it hit the marquee. At Rs 12.15 lakh, the movie has already matched the lifetime collections of indie films.
The situation isn’t too different in Mumbai either — another stronghold of Khan. A VIP/Gold Class ticket at PVR Icon in Versova has been priced at a cool Rs 1500.
Ask trade analyst Amod Mehra what drives the audience to pay such a high price to watch a movie and he reasons, “There haven’t been any good films in the recent past, which would have motivated the audience to spend money. So, people who have the money will not mind spending a huge amount on this one.”
Projects starring any one of the Khan trio — Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh — are mounted on huge budgets. No wonder then, the tickets rates shoot up during their film’s release.
However, Mehra points out that it is the distributors and not the producers, who are to be blamed for the hike. “The production cost of a film like Jab Harry Met Sejal is really high. So, to recover that cost, distributors tend to increase the rates.”
He cautions that it may not necessarily be a smart strategy. “On the contrary, I feel if they reduce the price, it will work as an advantage and will lure more people to watch the film.”
Another trade exhibitor, on the condition of anonymity, says, “Rs 2400 plus food and conveyance is really high. But then, the advance booking shows that people who wish to spend so much, have bought the tickets. I can get a premium membership of Netflix at the same price and watch so much of content. In the end, it’s all about what you choose.”