MUMBAI: India’s most loved game, cricket, has gone a step ahead this year from the idiot box to the big screen. It’s a completely new experience for the Indian audience and multiplexes are trying to cash in on the opportunity by screening the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament that started on Friday.
However, like all new beginnings, this new trend too is taking time to be accepted by the audience. The response for the matches in multiplexes has been slow so far. Moreover, the multiplexes also expect occupancy for the matches to spurt up as the tournament reaches it finishing lap.
The matches are being screened in approximately 800 screens across India.
Speaking to Businessofcinema.com, Inox vice president programming and distribution Utpal Acharya says, "The opening has not been very good and even now it has not picked up. The occupancy is hardly around eight to ten percent. However we are hoping that it will catch up as the match progresses. Also, we are not allowed to screen the matches being played on the home ground. For example if a match is being played in Mumbai, we are not allowed to screen that match in Mumbai. Having said that, I feel it will pick up closer to the finals. Right now it’s early days and people are slowly getting aware of it."
Fun Cinemas COO Vishal Kapur adds, "The weekend occupancy has been good especially in smaller cities. The occupancy has been around 25 – 30% and in smaller towns as good as 50%. We are very happy and we must understand that something like this cannot run to full houses but it is getting better."
"The IPL matches have done decently and over the weekend the occupancy has been around 20–25% even though the opening has not been as good as expected. We are hoping the next weekend will be even better as awareness spreads and the game progresses. The audience response has been good because it’s an amazing experience; it’s almost as good as watching the match at the stadium. If this works out it will be good because besides movies we can think of providing the audience with different kinds of entertainments. As the game progresses we will be planning different marketing strategies to promote the screening of the matches," added Fame India AVP-programming, distribution and corporate sales Aditya Shroff.
Another reason for the IPL not doing so well at the multiplexes could be the ongoing class 10 and 12 board exams. Now that the exams are coming to a close and the game is progressing, the footfalls at multiplexes are expected to increase.