Dec 26, 2008

Business - India;Multiplexes cash in on paid previews

Pradipta Mukherjee

As many as 12 paid previews have already been hosted at multiplexes this year, and still counting, compared to a very few hosted last year, informed multiplexes in the city.

According to Virendra Marya, Regional Director (East), Inox Leisure, paid previews have increased to 12 this year compared to only a few last year. Paid previews are a call taken by the producer of a movie to add on to the hype around the movie thereby giving patrons an exclusive chance to catch the movie a day ahead of the rest of the world.

“It is a smart strategy to ensure good opening day and weekend collections. Paid previews of recently released films like ‘Singh is Kinng’, ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’, ‘Rock On’, ‘Dostana’, clocked houseful occupancies across Inox properties in Kolkata. So apart from the added revenues, paid previews help in creating more buzz about a film which obviously impacts the occupancy figures in the subsequent weekend,” Marya said.

Paid-previews are screenings held a day before the release of a film. This trend of Thursday screenings is possible because prints usually arrive at least a day before the release.

According to Shunali Shroff, head, corporate communications of Shringar Cinemas which runs ‘Fame’ brand of multiplex, “Paid previews are a value-add for our patrons and an extra source of revenue for us.”

Industry sources estimate that the film ‘Dostana’ earned Rs 75 lakh through paid-previews, overtaking 'Singh Is Kingg's' collection of Rs 50 lakh through its 155 paid previews across the country and over Rs 10 lakh from its paid previews in the overseas markets.

‘Rock On’, which got a total collection of Rs 10 lakh through its paid previews, was released with 1,000 prints on the first day, which went up to 1,250 in the following days, thanks to the great previews.

Most multiplexes charge about 30 per cent premium while some sell tickets at regular weekend rates for such previews.

Paid preview prices are mutually decided by the producers of a film and the exhibitors which vary from movie to movie. But usually weekend pricing is applicable for paid previews.

“We generally play one or two preview shows per property which is again a mutual decision taken by the producers and exhibitors. Paid previews of recently released films like ‘Singh is Kinng’, ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’, ‘Rock On’, ‘Dostana’, clocked 100 per cent occupancy and films like ‘A Wednesday’, ‘Hancock’, ‘Mummy-3’ registered an average of 70-80 per cent occupancy across our three properties in Kolkata,” informed Marya of Inox.

The advance tickets for the paid preview shows of ‘Ghajini’ on December 24 are flying off the counters at multiplexes.

“We will have two preview shows per property and all shows will be complete sellout with a lot of block booking enquiries coming in. The trend of paid previews has also caught on to our district properties in Durgapur and Burdwan and the preview of ‘Ghajini’ will also take place on December 24,” informed Marya.

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