Pakistan’s Cinema Industry has been flourishing since the breakout of foreign content in 2007. Cinemas have been increasing at a rapid rate within our country, currently comprising of at least 180 screens. Moreover, the quality of these cinemas have also improved over the years, as big names like Cinestar, Cinepax, Universal, Nuepelex, Atrium, and many others have started to open up in major cities all over the country.
However, the brilliant infrastructure provided by these cinemas require some good content to be shown as well, and this is where it gets complicated; cinemas need sufficient amount of film content to be coming in throughout, which does not only need to be solid, but also worth the dimes people pay for their tickets. Since the revival of Pakistan’s Cinema Industry, its Film Industry has started to produce some quality projects, with reputable names such as ARY, Hum Films, IMGC, and Filmwala Pictures, leading the pack. The main problem, however, is with establishing a momentum, which can only be achieved if these 180 screens get a new release every week.
Where The Problem Lies
Foreign content always acted as a brilliant aid, and a few blockbuster movies kept the business running. However, in the absence of such content as was this year, we have had around 12 to 15 local releases, out of which some have been good performers, some average performers, and some complete disasters with no outright blockbuster.
The issue is that moviemakers might not have enough resources to produce movies, more than the amount they’re already producing. This hence is a major issue for the Cinema Industry, because without good content, or in now’s case; any content, the Cinema Industry will not survive. Additionally, since cinemas have started to open up in shopping malls all over the country, the owners have to pay a fixed cost of extremely high monthly rentals, which logically can only be collected through ticket prices that are higher than usual. So starting from the moviemakers, to the audience who pays for the tickets, everybody is right at their own end, but the situation is such that everybody is suffering.
The current business model of cinemas is also very flawed, especially if we consider the pricing of the tickets. Although many cinemas are coming up with different ideas to tackle the pricing issue, they seem to be failing miserably. Student discounts are being offered on all kinds of movies and timings, special reward card deals are being churned out as well. But if we take a look at the current total cinema-going cost (taking into consideration the recent Eid releases), with the average size of a family as 4, we realize that the total cost incurred is still very high.
Ticket: (Average: 700) 2800
Food and Beverages: (Average: 500) 2000
There is always a strong chance that if you are watching a film at a cinema located in a mall, there will be added costs of dinner or lunch, either before the movie starts, or after the movie ends. This will take the total cinema-going cost even higher.
The cinema-going cost happens to be the same for all kinds of movies; a ‘SherDil’ seems to cost the cinema-goer the same amount as an ‘Avengers: End game’ does, this is where the problem lies. Value for money is important for people and this is what the sellers need to comprehend. By placing the tickets at a higher price, the producers, and the cinema owners may earn a lot initially i.e. during the first 7-day release of the film, but they might not be able to attract and retain audiences in the long run. Hence, they need to decide for themselves; do they want a good initial 7-day release, or do they want their film to be successful in the long run, as people might find the film more valuable with respect to the amount they pay for the entire experience if the ticket prices are comparatively low.
Cinemas are not the only ones at fault, distributors or producers also need to take it upon themselves to sit together, and decide the right way to go forward and look for mutual benefits. One way is that the revenue generated from the tickets could be shared accordingly amongst the producers, and the owners of the cinemas, or since cinemas are also earning through their food court, they could adjust their expenses with the help of that as well.
Moreover, the fact of the matter is that the local industry cannot just all of a sudden start producing more and better movies, as this process tends to take time. But for the entertainment industry to flourish in the future, cinemas need to be there to showcase their hard work through the screens. Struggle from here onwards will be tough, but all stakeholders together have the capability to resort to this complication, providing the audience with better times ahead.
What do you guys think?