Hollywood Movies

PVR Inox’ Sanjeev Kumar Bijli on Hollywood movies in India, festive lineup, ticket pricing and PVR Passport – Brand Wagon News

April 10, 20245 Mins Read

2023 was a successful year for the box office as per the numbers. As we enter a new fiscal year, we have witnessed a slew of English movie releases. What is the expectation in terms of bringing the crowd to theatres?

In the previous year, English cinema experienced notable success with releases such as Oppenheimer Barbie, and Mission Impossible. The momentum has carried into this year with the strong performance of Godzilla vs Kong, signalling a promising lineup ahead. I was a little apprehensive because of the strike last year. I thought we might not get as many English films, but there are a slew of films set to release including Ghostbusters, Challengers, Crew, and Borderlands. The release of Dune: Part Two marked a successful commencement to the year for Hollywood movies. Our reliance on Hollywood productions remains substantial, accounting for approximately 60-70% of our screenings due to our presence in multiple metropolitan areas where English films are consumed. However, the proportion of Hollywood films within the Indian box office landscape accounts for seven to eight percent, potentially reaching 10% in favourable years. This trend reflects a growing appetite for English-language cinema, fairly evident in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, smaller cities like Ahmedabad and Pune, a hub of college students, exhibit a higher propensity for consuming English content.

With a couple of releases slated for the Eid weekend, what are your expectations from the festive season this year?

Eid signifies an important weekend within our calendar, similar to other major festivals such as Diwali, Republic Day, or Independence Day, all of which are important in our cultural landscape. We are quite fortunate that we have several festivals in India. We are anticipating the release of Maidaan, featuring Ajay Devgn, whose recent successes include Shaitaan and Drishyam 2, both of which were different genres. Additionally, Bade Miyaan Chote Miyaan starring Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, promises to be a masala film experience. We have high expectations of these two films as films continue to scale new heights. We used to talk about Rs 100 crore films and Rs 200 crore films, and we’ve reached a point where films are generating box office revenue of Rs 500 crore. I believe the box office has been fairly buoyant again because Crew has done Rs 200 crore and has been well-received. We see people coming back to theatres in large numbers signifying that the beginning of the fiscal year is off to a good start.

What is the challenge that the company will encounter this year in terms of ticket prices and film lineups?

Our ticket prices are not going to go up substantially, they’ll probably keep pace with inflation, around four or five percent. However, we’ll be charging a premium for formats such as IMAX 4DX, ICE, or Director’s Cut. The challenge we face is keeping the content flowing. This year, the Hindi and Hollywood lineup might not be as strong, but the South Indian lineup is looking strong. Last year. there was a bit of a slump for South Indian films, but they’re bouncing back. We are present in places like Chennai, Bengaluru, and Trivandrum. We’re opening up new spots in Kochi and Bengaluru to keep up with the demand. We’ve noticed that a big chunk of our business comes from the South, so we’re adding to our screen count there. However, it is uncertain which movies will be a hit at the box office. Crew did way better than we expected, but others like Fighter and Dunki didn’t quite hit the mark. There is a struggle to keep that movie pipeline strong and make sure it resonates with the crowds.

What is your plan for South India in terms of creating premium properties?

In Tamil Nadu, there is a price cap which prevents us from implementing a premium due to constraints on ticket pricing. However, in Chennai, we have launched two IMAX theatres, while Bengaluru has a variety of formats including IMAX, 4DX, Lux, and Gold. A Director’s Cut format was inaugurated in Bengaluru, last year. While price limitations exist in Hyderabad, we are in the process of launching an IMAX. We are in the process of assessment of locations and cinemas for the debut of the first IMAX theatre. We are soon going to launch an IMAX in Kochi while there is one in Trivandrum. Since a substantial investment is required for IMAX installations, the ticket prices oscillate between Rs 400 to 550, with most IMAX formats placed in cities or metropolitan areas where consumers demonstrate a propensity to invest in such experiences.

You recently made changes to the subscription product – PVR Passport. How has the product fared post making the changes?

We reintroduced the offering at the price point of Rs 349, valid for a month from Monday to Thursday, across major regions in India. Previously, a few South Indian markets were excluded from this product. However, we revised our strategy to extend the product to most regions of India. The response has been highly encouraging, with approximately 80,000 to 90,000 units sold since its launch. The initiative has proven to be successful, evidenced by the substantial subscriber base. The customer response has been positive with the value of the offering at Rs 349 has been called a ‘steal’.

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