With just one day to go for the cap on movie tickets in Karnataka to come into effect, theaters in Bengaluru are ensuring that they sell out tickets for the much-anticipated Baahubali - The Conclusion, at high prices before the movie releases on Friday.
The prices for the movie range between Rs 350 and Rs 600 - even for the 4am show on Friday - as theatre owners try to cash in on the trend.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is expected to officially announce the new ticket policy - capping prices at Rs 200 - on Thursday, at the state film awards ceremony. While the decision was first announced during the state Budget, the implementation is likely to start from Thursday.
“When the new policy comes into effect from Thursday, the box office collections of Baahubali 2 are bound to suffer in the days ahead. The collection being made on day one, what with the prices as high as Rs 600 and sold out, it may be enough for people to want to watch the movie as they will assume it is really good,” said Sa Ra Govind, President of Karnataka Film Association.
As of Wednesday morning, the price of the tickets in Urvashi Theatre on Lalbagh Road skyrocketed to Rs 600 for the balcony platinum seats while those of the lower classes were being sold at Rs 500 and Rs 400.
As many as 30 single-screen theatres opened bookings on Tuesday evening, and some of them have shows as early as 4am with prices pegged at Rs 300-350. The online bookings for the film are sold out in most theatres.
Anjan digital on Magadi Road, Urvashi Theatre on Lalbagh Road and Mukunda Dolby in Mathikere sold tickets at high rates for the 4am show, but the tickets are already sold out.
Rex Theatre on Brigade Road and Srinivasa Digital in SG Palya have sold out shows screening at 6am. Vaishnavi Theatre in Uttarahalli and Balaji Digital in Tavarekere have shows starting as early as 5.45am, which are also sold out and the tickets cost between Rs 300 and 350.
For the Telugu version of the movie, the number of shows on the first day in these 30 single-screens is over 130.
The multiplexes in the city meanwhile are yet to open advance bookings for the film, as there was a lot of controversy over whether the movie would be allowed to release in Karnataka until a few days back.
“The protest against Kattappa (Sathyaraj) ahead of the release, and the controversy surrounding Baahubali’s death has obviously struck the viewer’s fancy and everyone seems to be curious as to why the protagonist dies. The new policy which caps the price of movie tickets at Rs 200 could be one of the reasons why there was uncertainty over the distribution rights. This time, the producers have decided to release it themselves and before the rule is imposed, the price can be hiked according to the theatre owners’ will,” Govind added.