MUMBAI: At a time when people don’t have a definite plan for what they will be doing the very next DAY, a leading multiplex chain is offering the chance of booking film tickets, upto three MONTHS in advance!
Yes, you read that right. Patrons of a leading chain of multiplexes across the country can now reserve seats for their awaited upcoming releases, upto three months before the film actually releases. This, albeit, for a high price.
From paid previews (which are turning out to be quite the rage, case in point: ‘Chennai Express’- grossing the highest ever collections in paid previews) to advance bookings, film marketeers seem to have another money-spinning ace up their sleeve in the ‘three month advance booking’ option.
Tickets under this advance-advance booking scheme can cost upto Rs 1500!
At PVR Cinemas, film tickets for October release ‘Besharam’, November opener ‘Ram Leela’ and December’s big bang ‘Dhoom 3’ are already on sale.
PVR Pictures’ President Kamal Gianchandani confirms the move, and adds: “Movie watching is an impulsive decision that usually happens 2-3 days before the release. With pre-booking, the audience can escape the last minute scramble and it is also an advantage for us.”
At present, customers can even select their preferred venue at PVR’s properties, but with bookings only opened for the first weekend for such advance reservation.
Making a case for the move benefiting the consumer, Gianchandani said: “It helps us gauge the preference of the audience towards a film and the right numbers of shows can be allotted taking into account the demand for it.”
Not all exhibitors seem sold on the idea though.
Mumbai’s leading single screen theatre, Gaiety Galaxy, when contacted, said they were aware of the move. “We are aware of PVR’s new scheme but we have not yet taken a call whether our theatre will follow suit. It is early days to decide whether the scheme will work,” said the Manager of Gaiety Galaxy Cinemas, Mr. Shaikh.
Added INOX’s Senior Manager, Programming, Mr. Satish Kondvilkar: “We are not aware that PVR is offering such advance bookings. As of now, we have no plans to emulate the same.”
So this move seems to be solely the prerogative of one operator. It remains to be seen whether this scheme will take off, and will find favour with other multiplex chains and single screen exhibitors.
However, if it does, it may prove detrimental to the average movie-goer, who will find it extremely difficult to shell out such a high fee to watch a film on the very first weekend.
It seems that the customer will have to make a trade-off between either shelling out the hefty price tag, or forgoing the idea of enjoying the film on opening weekend. For it sure looks like this move will ensure cinema viewing will become a privilege for the wealthy upper middle class only.