GST reduction evokes mixed response from filmgoers

Many still find fault with hiking of ticket prices in first two weeks of film’s release

The reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) on cinema tickets from January 1 has evoked a mixed response from filmgoers in the city.

The Centre had reduced GST from 28% to 18% for tickets priced upwards of ₹100 and from 18% to 12% for tickets priced up to ₹100.

The ticket price at INOX Theatres, which stood at ₹150 before reduction in GST, has now come down to ₹138, according to reliable sources.

However, audiences will not get any relief during the first two weeks of a film’s release as the government has permitted theatre managements to increase the ticket prices in accordance with the demand for the film.

Prices shoot up

The ticket prices for new films are being fixed at ₹200 or more by the theatre managements depending on its demand.

The ticket cost during the first two weeks for new films used to be high even before the reduction in GST. Some of the smaller theatres are also charging ₹150 for the premium seats and ₹118 for the standard range of seats.

Some filmgoers feel that the reduction of around ₹12 on a ticket could add up to a substantial benefit when large groups go together to watch a movie.

Fans protest hikes

However, there are many who see no benefit in the move, as they go to watch the movie immediately after its release and hence there is no reason for them to cheer as theatre managements raise the ticket prices.

“There is no justification in the hiking of ticket rates for the first two weeks. In January last year, I had to shell out ₹100 as against the normal ticket price of ₹60 for a new film. A few days ago, I had to pay ₹150 as against the normal price of ₹100 at a regular theatre. At some of the INOX theatres, the hike is more than ₹100,” say filmgoers.

Film exhibitors have welcomed the reduction in GST saying it would result in increased footfalls and greater patronage of theatres.

“We welcome the decision. Customers will benefit and they would flock to the theatres in greater numbers,” said Jagadish Kumar, proprietor of Jagadamba Theatre.

“Though the GST on cinema tickets has been reduced by the government, many of the exhibitors are, however, not passing on the benefit to the consumers,” said an official.

Source- The Hindu.

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