"Jagan Rashtra Samithi launches campaign against
cinema theatre owners selling tickets in black

Black spins money for theatre owners .Fence eating the field

Hyderabad|India|December'2008: JAGAN RASHTRA SAMITHI (JRS), a youth body comprising of young followers of Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy launched a campaign against theatre owners selling tickets of newly released films in black at exorbitant rates.

The members of JRS roughly fifty in number went around Devi, Shanti and other theatres in twin cities on Thursday on the occasion of the release of Nagarjuna starrer "King" and caught several theatre staff and people hired by them selling King tickets at Rs 500/- and handed them over to the respective police stations. The members of JRS have also secretly shot on video those selling tickets in black market obviously with the knowledge of the theatre owners. Police remained mute spectators informed J. Vinay Sagar, State President -- Jagan Rashtra Samithi; K. Santosh Kumar, State General Secretary -- Jagan Rashtra Samithi; M. Nagireddy, State Treasurer -- Jagan Rashtra Samithi and other office bearers and members of JRS addressing a press conference in city.

King film was released in about 40 theatres in twin cities recently. These all films together have an average seating capacity of 500 running into four shows accounts to 2000 seats per day per theatre and 40 theatres put together 80,000/-. Each ticket of Rs 50/- was sold at Rs 500/- which means theatre owners pocket Rs 450/- per ticket and for 80,000 ticket each this amounts a mammoth Rs 3.6crore per day. Assuming that this trend continues for a week days, the they pocket Rs 25crore per theatre per week. If two such new films released each week(this week two films King, Ghajani are released), they total profit through this unofficial means will be Rs 50crore. If these is the situation in twin cities it can be anybody's imagination to guess how much money theatre owners across the state spin by way of black marketing. According to our estimations this will amounting anywhere between Rs 600 to 1200 crore per year across the state.

Theatre owners who until recently cry hoarse about the heavy burden of taxes and increasing expenditure, there are now happy selling tickets of new movies at an exorbitant rates in black market to rake more revenue. This seems to be a blessing in disguise for them now which is very unfortunate.

The Police in Vijayawada already cautioned the theatre owners not to encourage black marketeers while selling cinema tickets. At a meeting with the owners and representatives of theatres recently they said the police would check serial numbers of tickets. JRS appeals to the police commissioner to take a stringent action against film theatres owners who resolve to such illegal activity.

JRS wants to launch a campaign on a large scale across the state from tomorrow and appeals to media to join hands with them to keep theatre ticket prices affordable to common people. Cinema is the most affordable entertainment for general public. By this illegal practice of the theatre owners it no longer in the reach of a common man, JRS members said. We have 5000 members across the state. We will form into small groups go around the film theatres in disguise as audience and picturise theatre staff selling tickets in black and then handover them to the police, informed Vinay Sagar. We are forming into 100 teams spread across the state. And will swing into action from tomorrow. Hence, we appeal to owners of the theatres to stop selling tickets themselves through their staff in the black, they warned.

Most of the people presume and sympathize with the exhibitor that the running of movie halls is becoming increasingly difficult. To some extents, it’s true. What’s more painful becomes curse to their fans is the exhibition of star movies in their theatre. If any top star’s movie is released this theatre, the exhibitor rakes up 100% more revenue than what the owner normally gets by way of usual ticketing. Selling tickets in the black is new mantra. It has suddenly become a lucrative business to many theatre owners. Involving in this kind of black marketing is their staff only. The theater staff in most of the theaters sells 70% of the tickets for the upper classes at an exorbitant rate in black market.

When Jagan Rashtra Samithi members made enquiries some of them admitted that they earn the extra amount by selling tickets in black, which would be reinvested to make the movie run to reach the land mark (be it 50 days, 100 days or 175 days). But why should he make the movie run for 100 days? The exhibitor has a commitment to run the movie for 100 days as to get the future movies and the good will of the star. The movie cannot attract good number of audience after 50 days of run and most of the time that movie would be running on deficit. One of the reasons for this is the number of centers and theaters major film gets released.

In case of Hyderabad, all the major movies are released in approximately 20 to 40 theaters. In the first four weeks, 80% of the regular moviegoers would be watching the film. Once the movie passes 50-days mark, the collections drop to an alarming level.

The theater owners are forced to use black-marketing as the government has withdrawn the GO allowing them to sell tickets at increased rate during first few days/weeks. Which is an unfortunate trend. We have also seen many small producers making hue and cry for non availability of good film theatres for small budget films.

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