Friday, May 29, 2009

What time is the movie?

What time is the movie?

An advertisement by ‘City’s cinema hall owners,’ in Thursday’s newspapers has announced that film screening timings will revert to what existed before May 22. The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce had, with help from the state government, changed the timings only last Friday.
For the last one week, the screening timings for four shows a day in all of Bangalore’s single screen cinema halls was 11.15 am, 2.30 pm, 6.15 pm and 8.30 pm. This followed a prolonged struggle by the Film Chamber as the city police did not want the last show to start late. A delegation to Home Minister VS Acharya finally helped the Chamber secure its demand.
But now, to the surprise of the Film Chamber, exhibitors have decided to go back to the old timings of 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm. But the people who have placed the advertisement have not revealed themselves, only claiming that it is being done as “audiences in film halls have reduced and the old timings are comfortable.”
Film Chamber president Jayamala had said that the change in timings was necessary only in 39 cinema halls in Bangalore screening Kannada films. Most other cinema halls screen films under the 11.15 am format.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Jayamala said the advertisement was only a “small mischief,” and that cinema halls will not revert to the earlier timings; but slight alterations have been made. “We had comprehensive discussions with exhibitors today (Thursday) and the issue has been sorted out. We wanted the new timings only in halls screening Kannada films in Bangalore. In the last one week since the new timings have been introduced, the audiences have increased for the morning and noon shows. Only the first show at 6 pm was affected and we have decided to change it to 5 pm from this Friday,” she said.
According to Jayamala, the new timings from Friday, May 29 will be 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm.
Sources, however, say that the problem is deeper than just the show timings. Singlescreen cinema halls in Kempe Gowda Road and Gandhinagar area numbering nearly 20 are considered ‘main theatres’ for Kannada films. Each and every film that releases has been traditionally released in one of these theatres. These cinema halls command the maximum weekly rent and also gross the highest box office collections. Times have changed, from the days when these exhibitors used to give advance payment to producers to release their films in them; today it is the producers who give advance rent. Cinema hall rents are the the highest outgo for film producers today rather than film making.
It is learnt that exhibitors have threatened to cancel one show and go with only three shows per day. With exhibitors calling the shots, the real fight is yet to begin.


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