With the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, going to the movies has taken a backseat. Even single-screen theatres like Alka Talkies with the capacity for 800 people, that anyways saw at least 70 to 100 filled seats managed to sell just 40 tickets for the first show of Force 2.
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Assistant manager Kumar Pundlik Biranje said, “Alka Talkies has not been doing well since the past decade anyway, but this decision has led to another 10-12 per cent decline in sales.”
Though City Pride R-Deccan accepts card transactions, yet manager Sagar Harishchandra reported 80 per cent decrease in footfall in the past week. The fact that most of his customers are students has further contributed to the decline. “Our average pricing is Rs 80-90 for morning shows on weekdays, and most students don’t use cards and often share the bill using cash.”
Audit Executive Ravi Sahu from E Square University Road says that his theatre hasn’t seen a loss but the decline is visible. Explaining the reason for the 30-35 per cent dip in footfall, he said, “While majority of people use cards or online portals for tickets, cash is often used by on-the-spot buyers who are either in a hurry or just don’t prefer using cards.”
The situation, he added, has become better this week as compared to how it was last Saturday when the decision was announced.
Pointing out that going for a movie doesn’t just mean paying for the ticket, Victory Theatre’s Farukh Firoz Chinoy said additional charges like paying for the petrol, parking and snacks have furthered the financial pressure on the audience. Hence, affecting the income of the theatres.
Manager of Rahul 70 MM at University Road, Sameer Jagtap, said, “We have applied for card services and will be getting it soon. But for now, whenever a customer comes with a Rs 2,000 bill, we try to convince them to buy tickets using BookMyShow app instead.”
Meanwhile, multi-national chains like Cinepolis remain mainly unaffected by the currency ban as almost all of their customers have shifted to paying by cards. Anish Kuriakose, who was standing in the queue to buy a ticket using cash, said, “I withdrew all my money from the ATM and I am not keeping minimum balance.”