Tamil Nadu’s four-day long theatre shutdown ends; strike called off, ticket prices go up

Sreedhar Pillai

Jul,07 2017 15:41:42 IST

The four-day long theatre shutdown in Tamil Nadu has ended on a happy note for the exhibitors.

The Tamil Nadu government has kept in abeyance the proposed 30% local body tax.  Now they will have to pay the existing ticket rate plus the GST applicable, 18 % for theatres charging up to Rs 100 and 28% for those charging above Rs 100. A committee will be set up by the state  government along with industry representatives to look into the issue.

Representational Image.

It is a major victory for the theatre lobby in the state, as after 10 years the government has allowed a ticket price increase.

The earlier state government’s entertainment tax will now be shared by the trade. For example, before GST, on a multiplex ticket of Rs 120, 30% went as entertainment tax and the trade got Rs 84 as net amount. From now, net rate per ticket is Rs 120 and gross rate per ticket, including 28 % GST, will be Rs 153.

Furthering on this, Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Federation said, “ We are happy as the government has kept the local body tax on hold and set up a committee to discuss about it. Yes there will be a marginal increase in ticket prices across the state as GST comes into effect.”

Meanwhile, last week’s releases including Ivan Thanthiran will get an extended full run as there are no new Tamil releases this week.

The films scheduled for July 7  Vikram Vedha and Pandigai will now release on July 14. The release pipeline has further clogged. The two major other language releases this week are Spider-Man Homecoming and Sridevi’s Mom.

Both these films have Tamil dub versions, but also have a limited release as the makers have not been able to sign agreements with theatres which have been shutdown.

However social media has not taken the ticket increase in the right spirit. They feel the government should not have allowed such an increase and instead asked theatres to keep to old rates, as the new GST rates are lower than old entertainment tax in many locations. .

Karthik Subramaniam, a Chennai-based movie-goer remarked, “I agree we watch more movies than in any other state as ticket prices were always kept at a low price. Now suddenly there has been a huge increase. I’m planning to watch Spider-Man Homecoming for which I have to pay Rs 153.60 + Rs 30 for 3D glasses + Rs 30 for booking on the net, total bill comes to Rs 213.  Who will pay Rs 153.60 for a Tamil film without a popular hero? Small Tamil films are sure going to suffer.”

Theatre owners have also said they would not have been able to survive on a ticket rate fixed 10 years back, especially given the inflation rates.

A multiplex operator sums it up aptly, “The new Chennai cinema ticket rate with GST is still the lowest among the metros in India and lower than the prevailing ticket rates in southern cities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi. If the show has to go on and be profitable for all stake holders, tickets should be priced at a reasonable amount.”

Updated Date: Jul 07, 2017 15:42 PM