Thursday, August 22, 2013

Movie watching is now entertainment + experience

No more standing in queues... no more buying ticket in "black" ... no more paying exorbitant money to buy tickets... This is one of the biggest positive changes that I noticed in India, after my return from USA.

You can book your ticket online comfortably from your home and watch a new movie on the first day of the release. Thanks to the growing number of multiplexes in Chennai. The movie watching experience is now very pleasant when compared to what it used to be, a decade ago.

When I started my IT career, my friends & I used to go to movies almost every weekend. I still remember the days when we used to pay Rs.200 for a Rs.30 ticket - when we buy it in "black". The cost of a ticket in the "black" market becomes exorbitant when you want to watch a brand new movie. In fact, we were once cheated by a guy who was selling tickets in the black market - he sold the previous show's ticket to us. In a hurry, we missed to see the show timings and went inside the theater. We were shocked to see that our seats were already occupied. That is when we realized that we were cheated. More than the money that we lost, we were disappointed because we weren't able to watch that movie :)

Today, the maximum amount that you'll have to pay for a ticket is just Rs.120 in Chennai. If you are booking it online, there is a service tax of Rs.20. Of course, the multiplexes charge you an arm and a leg for Pepsi & Popcorn. I believe that is where they make the money. You can get all kinds of snacks today at the theater - nachos, burgers, cookies, icecream etc., in addition to the traditional Popcorn + soda. 

Any new movie is shown in almost all the theaters in the city and that too in multiple screens and multiple shows. If you go to a multiplex, you'll notice that the movie is run in at least 3 or 4 screens simultaneously during the opening week of the new movie. (Also read: PVR Cinemas in Skywalk - World Class)

Another interesting aspect of online booking is, you don't have to stand in queues. Those days, I hate to stand in long queues in many theaters - most of the times, the ticketing counters are just cages where they arrest people for long hours. The sultry environment, the smell from fellow queue mates... Oh! my God... our country has definitely changed for the good in the last several years. Many of the theatres have a ticket booking website of their own or they've partnered with services such as It allows you to book tickets online for mom & pop theatres also.  

We watch movies only in theaters these days because of the "experience". It is very hard for all of us to be at home continuously for 3 hours. We get interrupted by our household chores or by guests. Theaters provide an environment for us to relax, unwind and watch movies, peacefully. Moreover, my daughter enjoys eating popcorn and icecream during the break. In fact, she comes to theatre only to have snacks and not for watching movie :)