Only 2% Indians watched ‘Bajrangi’ in theatres

Study reveals half the people in neighbouring country still have no access to cinemas

November 18, 2015
A staggering 74.5 million people tuned into the TV premiere of the film last month. PHOTOS: FILE


Salman Khan’s blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which raked in over INR3 billion at the Indian box office, has been watched by a mere 2% of approximately 1.3 billion Indians in theatres, says a cinema chain official.

According to reports, a staggering 74.5 million people tuned into the TV premiere of the film last month. But in a session on increasing footfalls in theatres at the ongoing Indywood Film market, it was revealed that only 32 million people have so far watched Bollywood blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan in cinemas.

“It’s startling to know only 2% of India’s population has watched the film, which has collected over INR3 billion from Indian theatres. Even if we can increase the footfalls to 5%, it will hugely benefit the overall revenue of Indian cinema,” said PV Sunil, director and CEO of Carnival Cinemas. The reason, as Sunil points out, is that 50% of the Indian population still has no access to cinemas.

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“Seven screens cater to one million people in India vis-a-vis over 100 screens in US. As of today, only 15% of total screens in India constitute multiplexes while the rest are still single screen cinemas. Despite being the largest producer of films in the world, India still struggles to generate revenue because most people still have no access to screens,” he said.

According to Devang Sampat, business head, Cinepolis India, one of the best ways to increase footfalls is to target tier-2, tier-3 and even tier-4 cities. “We were the first to open a four-screen multiplex in Patna. The response has been extremely good and its average ticket price is the same as that of Mumbai’s. This means there are people with high spending capacity even in smaller cities,” he said.

Sampat also pointed out that most multiplexes rely on malls, which is not a healthy trend.

“In places like Madhya Pradesh, people literally travel 50 kilometres to watch movies. Why not take the screens to them? Why not build multiplexes in these places? Indians don’t watch cinema for entertainment, it’s a culture for us,” he added.

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Technology too is a key driver in increasing footfalls, believes Sohan Roy, founding chairman and CEO of Aries Group of Companies. Roy is also the chief promoter of AriesPlex SL Cinemas, which is south India’s first double 4K projection facility here.

“Take the case of Baahubali, which ran houseful for 15 weeks in our cinemas. It was screened in 4K projection and the audience loved the experience. They watched it more than once. Technology plays a pivotal role in drawing audiences for the overall experience in a cinema hall,” Roy said. ians

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2015.

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