Indian movie industry blasts ticket price cap

Figures from the Indian movie industry have criticised this week’s introduction of a controversial ticket price cap in the Karnataka state.

The Ticketing Business reported earlier this week that theatres can charge only Rs 200 (£2.40/$3.10/€2.85) for movie tickets in the region, which has a population of 61 million and includes the city of Bangalore.

While the government sought to reach out to the public by halting a recent rise in ticket prices, the move is not popular among theatre operators and producers.

Arvind Chaphalkar, owner of a multiplex chain, told the Times of India newspaper that the Karnataka government’s decision was a populist one, and added: “I think the government should restrict itself to deciding the entertainment tax and leave the rate decisions to those running the business. It is basic demand-supply math and with capping, the ticketing black market will thrive.”

The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) urged the government to withdraw its “retrograde, irrational, unfair and potentially unconstitutional” order. In a statement, the MAI said: “Being able to charge relatively higher prices on peak shows helps multiplexes charge lower prices on non-peak shows. This helps cater to all segments of the market.

“It is a myth that multiplexes charge astronomically high prices. We charge prices that audiences are willing to pay.”
Prominent producer Sanjay Chhabria said the cap could lead affect funding in the movie industry.

“If I am spending big bucks on making a movie, I have every right to recover it. Capping will only discourage filmmakers from putting in money for production,” Chhabria told the Times of India.

However, producer Rockline Venkatesh, who owns the Rockline mall, hailed the government’s move to regulate ticket prices.

“It’s a good move and the government order has to be obeyed. There will be confusion initially, but people will not keep quiet,” he told the Economic Times.

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