Mersal gets a record opening
Despite the State government hiking the ticket prices, actor Vijay’s Mersal had a record opening for a Tamil film.
While the theatre business has only partly recovered from a slump, post the introduction of GST, it has brought the focus back on the State government’s logic of putting a cap on the ticket prices for the first few days when the demand is sky-high. Many theatres across Tamil Nadu reportedly sold first-day tickets for anywhere between Rs.300 and RS.1,000.
With the movie being screened in close to 700 screens across the State, selling of tickets at inflated prices continues unabated — especially for the early morning shows in many single screen theatres, according to the trade sources.
“Yes, the first day collection is somewhere between 22-24 crore in Tamil Nadu alone. Clearly, it has surpassed the opening of Rajinikanth’s Kabali and Vijay’s earlier film Theri,” said Tiruppur Subramanian, a well-known distributor in western Tamil Nadu.
Asked why the exhibitors were still selling tickets at inflated prices, Mr. Subramaniam said, “It can be curbed only if the stakeholders regulate the so-called ‘special fans’ show for which tickets are sold at inflated prices. Tickets should also be sold only via online booking.
Abirami Ramanathan, president, Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners’ Association, said he had not received any complaints of theatres charging above the government-mandated rates. “The opening has been extraordinary and there is no question of inflated ticket prices having an effect as the prices in Tamil Nadu are the lowest in India,” he said.
The Tamil Film Producers Council had earlier stated that it would ‘monitor and report’ the theatres that charge more than the fixed price. The council’s treasurer, S.R. Prabhu, said the council had limited powers, but would continue to do what it had promised. “While we don’t have the power to punish them, we are doing our bit. The onus is on the State government and the people to report such misdoings,” he said.