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Theatres collect virtual print fees of as much as  ₹15,000 per show. (Photo: Hindustan Times)
Theatres collect virtual print fees of as much as 15,000 per show. (Photo: Hindustan Times)

Theatres attempt news initiatives to stay afloat

  • INOX had said the private screening offer will become a new way of celebrating special occasions. It allows guests, making the bookings, to choose content either from the current play list or an old blockbuster

NEW DELHI: Film theatres across India have been trying new things to try and stay afloat as content pipeline remains dry. The top two multiplex chains, PVR Cinemas and INOX Leisure Ltd, have begun private screenings for families and closed groups, for rates as low as 1,999 and 2,999 respectively. Last week, PVR had announced a special couple offer for Karva Chauth, with one ticket free, discounts on food and beverages, henna and make-up counter, across the chain's theatres.

“The sense in offering private shows is to allow our patrons to experience the magic of cinema on the big screen with the unparalleled visual and sound quality, without having to share the space with anyone other than their family and friend circle. This is an ideal option for those who are wary of watching movies in a theatre right now simply because of having to share the space with others," Gautam Dutta, chief executive, PVR Cinemas, said. People are as safe as in their own drawing rooms with their family, only with the added magnificence of the big screen cinema experience, Dutta added.

INOX said the private screening offer will become a new way of celebrating special occasions. It allows guests making the booking to choose the content either from the current play list, or an old blockbuster.

"Cinemas have been providing a mental escape to millions for decades, and would continue to do so in the post-pandemic world. We believe that a large segment of our audiences would feel more comfortable enjoying a movie, with just their family members and friends, or even by themselves," INOX’s chief marketing officer Saurabh Varma said.

PVR, currently running festivals such as ‘Unimssable Hits’ and ‘Return of Blockbusters’ with older hits such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Baahubali-The Beginning and Kabir Singh, has several other curations planned for next few weeks. The Ajay Bijli-owned multiplex chain had a ‘Halloween Film Festival’ end of October, showcasing popular horror flicks such as like Conjuring 2, IT and others along with its new release The Rental.

Meanwhile, Vettri Theatres, an independent property in Chennai, has started to putting out its popular food and beverage menu for takeaways through food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato. Carnival Cinemas that has special offers on one-plus-one tickets and F&B combos with tickets, had pivoted to cloud kitchen business by launching a wholly-owned subsidiary - Purple Foods & Beverages Pvt. Ltd this June. It launched five brands - Purple Canteen (for non-vegetarian food), Green Canteen (vegetarian food), Red Bubble Cafe, Movie Munchies, and Fresh Counter.

Theatre owners say they don’t see profit in any of these initiatives but it keeps the staff engaged and may help build consumer confidence. “We have to look at building trust with audiences. But we just hope it doesn’t take too much time as the cost is too high and we cannot hold on much longer," said PV Sunil, managing director at Carnival Cinemas.

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