The prices of movie tickets, which are set to go up by `50 in multiplexes and by `40 in single-screen halls, following a High Court directive, will become normal from January 19. The increased prices will be in place for nine days, from January 10. The price hike, observers say, is to rake in money on the occasion of reported big-budget releases during the Sankranti, that falls on January 15.
The latest revision in movie-ticket prices has taken place after the High Court permitted the theatre owners to hike the fare a couple of days ago. The multiplexes would, come January 10, charge `250 per person and the single-screen halls would charge `120 per ticket. Similarly, the first-class-ticket prices would see a hike of about `40 per ticket. Secretary of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, K Siva Prasad Rao, told Express that the prices would “be back to normal from January 19”.
The cinemagoers, however, are unhappy over the hike in prices, as they feel that the exhibitors of the movies on some pretext or other get permission to increase prices during holiday seasons. Their woes become amplified by the fact that they have to shell out more money during intermissions for eatables and beverages, which sell at prices higher than their actual prices.
“It has become a habit of the theatre managements and film distributors to get permission from the State government or Court to hike the prices (of movie tickets) during holiday seasons. In the intervals, the (prices of) eatables and beverages are double the ticket price. The government should be blamed for this fleecing,” said P Ravi Kiran, a data entry operator from Patamata.
It would be worth recalling that in spite of the Civil Supplies Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao warning the management of the theatres, sometime ago, of dire consequences if eatables and beverages were sold at higher prices in the halls, the same were sold at increased prices. What had further angered the common man was that the High Court, in its recent order, said that there was no need for the theatre owners to get prior approval from the authorities concerned, so far as increasing the prices of tickets went. The Court, however, had given the directive as the State government failed to fix the tariff of movie tickets even after constituting two committees a year ago.
For the record, there had not been a revision in the prices of movie tickets in Andhra Pradesh in the past six years or more. According to sources, the state government had readied a tariff plan, which had higher prices for movie tickets fixed for a considerable duration.
“However, after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the new tariff that the government had planned to implement needed to be tweaked, as 18 per cent tax could not be levied on all the theatres. So, it would take time to announce a new tariff. Till then, the theatre owners would get permission for temporary hikes in ticket prices, whenever big-budget movies would be released,” an official of the revenue department explained.