The sick single-screen theatres can now breathe a sigh of relief. The govt. has finally realised the ground realities of film exhibition market that clearly show that single-screeners are generally out of favour in the city. This fact is reinstated with a bang whenever an old theatre brings down the shutter. And this happens pretty often these days.
The new rule enables a single-screener to convert to a two-screen theatre which has been newly defined as a multiplex (Earlier the cut-off was three screens). Hence the theatres will be able to- a. Lower the no. of seats and thereby increase profitability, b. Enjoy tax holidays for the first three years of operation.
Many theatres had already expressed interest in converting to two-screeners in order to survive profitably. Among them Hind's plans found mention in papers. It included setting up of a modern cafeteria inside the theatre. Eastern India Motion Pictures' Association (EIMPA), the producers' body, had also lobbied for it quoting a similar example in Rajasthan.
The rethink was prompted by a Zee Telefilms' (New owner of Technicians' Studio) proposal of settilng up a big no. of two-screen multiplexes across West Bengal.
It is indeed good news for the cinema enthusiasts in Kolkata who lament the lack of decent theatres in the town. A good theatre- defined as one having a big screen, good sound, soothing design and lighting, comfortable seating and availability of snacks and soft drinks at the right prices- is really, really small in number. Multiplexes filled up this gap, but they are prohibitively priced. Hence many film lovers choose to stay indoors more than ever. Thanks to this welcome change, many theatres will hopefully go from 'sick' to 'slick', showing two or more movies at any point of time at prices much lower than plexes, thereby wooing back their loyal customers and adding many new.