Bengaluru, Oct 31: The Karnataka Film Exhibitors Federation members have decided not to release new films till January due to seat restrictions by the State government due to Covid threat in the State.
For most of the new releases, over-the-top (OTT) platforms have become the preferred choice ever since the lockdown in March 2020. On the other hand, theatres had been gearing up for reruns of old movies.
After a meeting of film exhibitors from the region, Federation Chairman R R Odugoudar told reporters 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 since the last six months they were facing severe challenges and most of their requests and demands were 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 per cent. As per the old structure, Rs 1,000 was collected for every 100 sq mt for 3 years. But now, this has been increased to Rs 4,500 per 100 sq mt 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 per cent on net rate of tickets for non-AC theatres and at 10 per cent for AC ones, but our demands have not been addressed," said Odugoudar.
Presently, service charge is Rs 2 for non AC theatres and Rs 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 change the existing business module of fixed weekly payments to a percentage- based module.