Bengaluru, Oct 31, 2020: With movie producers unwilling to release films in theatres due to seating restrictions amid the pandemic, the Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Federation has decided to not reopen theatres across the state till January next.
For most new releases, over-the-top (OTT) platforms have become the preferred choice ever since the lockdown. On the other hand, theatres had been gearing up for re-runs of old movies.
After a meeting of film exhibitors from the region, federation chairman R R Odugoudar told mediapersons that many producers have expressed their unwillingness to release big-ticket movies till January 2021 though the government had given its nod to reopen theatres with restrictions and by following standard operating procedures as per the Unlock 5.0 guidelines.
“Producers are saying that they won’t release films till January 2021. In such circumstances, exhibitors have also decided to not open theatres till January as it will only bleed us,” he said. The exhibitors further said that over the last six months, they were facing severe challenges and most of their requests and demands placed before the government and producers were not fulfilled.
“The State Government has increased the licence renewal fee for cinema theatres by nearly 2,250%. As per the old structure, Rs 1,000 was collected for every 100 sqmt for 3 years. But now, this has been increased to Rs 4,500 per 100 sqmt per year,” Odugoudar said.
‘Do away with trade licences for theatres’
“Besides , we have been demanding the government levy electricity charges at industrial instead of commercial rates and permit us to collect service charge at 5% on net rate of tickets for non-AC theatres and at 10% for AC ones, but our demands have not been addressed,” said R R Odugoudar. Presently, service charge is `2 for non AC theatres and `3 for AC theatres.
Referring to the varying property tax rates on cinema theatres under different civic bodies, the exhibitors have sought uniform rates across the state and doing away with trade licences for theatres. They also said that producers must agree to changing the existing business module of fixed weekly payments to a percentage- based module.