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New Delhi/Noida: After facing huge losses in COVID lockdown for nearly seven months, leading cinema chains are wooing viewers back with super cheap tickets and exclusive full hall bookings at irresistible rates.

The PVR halls in Noida next to Delhi, for instance, can be booked for exclusive viewing in normal class by an individual or a group not exceeding 25 for only Rs 2500 and in gold class for Rs 4000. If the number of guests exceeds 25, the booking rates are more. Likewise, INOX has been offering for more than a month block booking at Rs 2999 for viewing in a normal auditorium and Rs 4999 in recliners.

Due to staggered seating as per government guidelines, the halls can only be booked at half the capacity.

According to general industry estimates, the cinema exhibition industry in India makes Rs 1,500 crore a month which includes Rs 1000 of ticket revenue and Rs 500 crore of food revenue. In seven months closure, the cinema exhibition industry would have lost about Rs 10,000 crore.

To step up footfall in Corona times, viewers are being greeted with a round of applause by half a dozen PVR staff when they leave the hall. This idea of Exit Gratitude was conceptualised to thank viewers for trusting the management enough to come out in Corona time and watch films. And the ticket is available for only Rs 99, an unheard of ticket price for a viewer used to paying nearly four times the amount in a fancy multiplex in South Delhi. INOX too welcomes its audience by personally ushering them in and playing welcome slides.

In pre COVID times, this cineplex in LOGIX mall in Noida having 15 screening halls, used to offer movie screening for Rs 99 only once a week but after halls opened on October 17, the viewers are getting to watch most films at this rate.

Apart from this, super hit films such as Dilwale Dulhaniye Le Jayenge, Bunty aur Babli and Ek Tha Tiger are being played besides Peninsula, Inception and Come Play.

Likewise, INOX, which began cinema business from Pune in 1999, claims that it was the first to roll out the block booking offer for an exclusive big screen experience. Anybody can book a full hall for himself or a group by paying the block booking ticket money but the group cannot exceed 50 per cent of the total capacity of the hall.

According to an official source in INOX, its theatres across India ran around the Diwali week old films of the Yashraj banner on their 50th anniversary celebrations including Silsila, Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge, Veer Zara and Bunty aur Babli only for a ticket money of Rs 50. In some halls, viewers can buy tickets for anything between Rs 75 to Rs 100.

The source added, “ We thought of giving viewers an entirely exclusive experience of watching a film within their bubble by letting them book an entire auditorium. We have had people booking halls for birthdays and kitty parties. We had a man from Kerala giving a honeymoon surprise to his wife in Bengaluru by booking an entire hall for a Malayali movie. We are also offering viewers tickets for Rs 100 in some cities of India. INOX has successfully experimented with screening of alternate cinematic content by screening across the country ‘Break the silence’, a film of Korean pop group BTS.”

PVR Cinemas, founded in 1997 owns and operates 845 screens in 196 cinemas in 71 cities in India and Sri Lanka and has an aggregate seating capacity of 1.82 lakh seats.

Likewise, INOX is also expanding in north India and has 626 screens in 147 halls in 68 cities.

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Free Press Journal