Industry News

Indian state movie ticket cap ignored by some multiplexes

Indian multiplex movie theatres have continued to charge above the Rs 200 ticket price cap set by the Karnataka state government.

The state, which presides over a population of 61 million, issued the order that restricts ticket costs at theatres to Rs 200 (£2.40/$3.10/€2.85), although that does not include taxes. The state includes major cities such as Bangalore.

Online ticketing platforms such as Bookmyshow and PayTM were this week showing movie tickets for more than the Rs200 cap at multiplex cinemas, while single screen theatres appeared to have complied with the cap.

While ‘Gold class’ seats are not included in the order, these premium areas cannot be more than 10 per cent of seating capacity of the movie theatre.

Further exemption has also been provided for the high-end movie theatres like IMAX and 4DX, as the government agreed that such theatres faced greater costs.

According to the Economic Times newspaper, multiplexes seem to charging up to Rs 700 for blockbusters such as fantasy film Bahubali 2.

Commercial Taxes Department officials have said they will monitor compliance as they collect entertainment taxes.

Officials stated: “Multiplexes are expected to furnish information on the various classification of movie tickets sold by them through online portals. All tickets are stamped by us.”

Meanwhile, the Information and Public Relations Department, which issued the notification mandating the cap, has said it will issue a letter to multiplexes to ask them to obey the government order with immediate effect.

Earlier this month, The Ticketing Business reported that figures from the Indian movie industry were against the cap.

Arvind Chaphalkar, owner of a multiplex chain, said: “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.”