With Bigil slated to release this Friday worldwide, the demand for its First Day First Show (FDFS) tickets is astoundingly high. Despite the State Government’s order, Bigil tickets are being sold at six times higher than the original price, depending upon the theater.
“Usually, I shell out Rs 120. Since it’s a Vijay film, I don’t mind spending Rs 600. Even if I am charged Rs 1500, I will buy,” says Suresh, a city-based engineering graduate. “I will be watching 7.30 am show at Rohini Silverscreens, along with four friends,” he informs, expressing disappointment over the uncertainty prevailing over the FDFS.
Suresh doesn’t understand why “everyone targets only ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay.” He jokingly says, “Movie tickets of other stars are also sold for Rs 3000, but nobody talks about that. Vijay anna doesn’t force people to come to theatres and watch his films. If someone spends money, it is his choice.”
Dear patrons, due to unavoidable reasons of our relationship with the Distributor, we are unable to screen #Bigil …We thank @dhananjayang sir for the support. Sorry to disappoint you. https://t.co/fWSsXt2Po7
— Ruban Mathivanan (@GKcinemas) October 20, 2019
Suresh explains, “Around 90s, we had paal abhishekams (milk showers) for the banners. Now, things have changed. Only select theatres have early morning shows. After all, these are meant for loyal fans. I am thankful to GK Cinemas and Rohini Silverscreens.”
As the opening day of Bigil nears, it looks like bulk tickets have been sold to corporates. Naveen Karthikeyan tells indianexpress.com, “I work for an IT firm. Almost the entire office is planning to watch the FDFS of Bigil. We have blocked around 150 tickets to accommodate everyone in a popular city-based movie hall.”
Audience need the most expected #Bigil in every theatre possible at “reasonable ticket price” so that they enjoy this Diwali with #Thalapathy film. Not fair Distributors who bought the film missing out important theatres who’re not agreeing to their high ticket price demands✍️👎
— Dr. Dhananjayan BOFTA (@Dhananjayang) October 20, 2019
For now, most theatres across Tamil Nadu have sold out tickets for the first three days. Lakshmi Narayanan, an ardent Vijay fan, says he managed to get three tickets through his friend. “I was charged Rs 950 per head. But I am not complaining. It is worth every penny,” he quickly adds. Narayanan tried booking tickets online, though. He wishes theatres had more transparency putting out the ticket prices online. “When this multiplex opened their reservations, I tried, but it showed ‘sold out’ eventually. I think these fan clubs buy tickets in bulk.”
Besides, indianexpress.com learns a few production and distribution houses had blocked tickets for FDFS in major movie halls.
Tickets at the single screens are sold only at the counter and don’t have a price printed on them. “It is an open secret that FDFS tickets of big stars are priced higher than the fixed amount,” acknowledges a theatre owner.
On condition of anonymity, he further says, the tickets were being sold up to Rs 1500 because of the high stakes involved. “If we sell tickets at Rs 120, it’s not possible to recover the investments. Whatever said and done, we need to make money in the first two weeks. It is not fair to blame theater owners for the overpricing. We have to pay a minimum guarantee amount to the producers regardless of whether a film performs well or not,” he states.
A source close to the theater owners and distribution association insists, “The Government should intervene and crackdown those who sell tickets more than the stipulated price.”
We will not be screening #Bigil across all our properties !!
Bookings for #Kaithi will be opened in few mins 🔥🔥
— Sivasakthi Cinemas (@Sivasakthicinem) October 19, 2019
Speaking to media persons on Tuesday, the State Minister for Information and Publicity Kadambur C Raju said, “Action would be taken against theaters that screen early shows without government permission or charge high rates for tickets.” According to a well-known distributor Tiruppur Subramaniam, several theatre owners had met Raju and sought permission to hold early morning shows. They are “awaiting a favourable response from the government soon.”
Meanwhile, reports suggest that a few single-screen theatres including GK Cinemas, Porur, aren’t screening Bigil owing to “differences of opinion with distributors.”