Thursday, March 16, 2006

Movie Watching- A Costly Outing

Sathyam Theatre, Chennai

IMC6, San Jose

Come Friday night and the weekend, most of us Bay Area folks are into movie watching, be it at home on our DVD players or at the IMC6 theatre in San Jose. Several of us use netflix or go to a nearby Blockbuster or the Namaste Plaza shop to pick up a recent movie and just come home and watch movies in the comfort of our homes. The cost is either $4.50 at blockbuster or even cheaper at the other places. Also, the crash of DVD player prices and the glut of new technologies like your plasma TV etc. make movie watching at home an enjoyable and accessible experience to fans.

And, there are sometimes, when a good tamil movie releases on a Friday night at the India Movie Center here in San Jose and Balaji ( writes about it in his blog and we read the initial review and decide to catch it at the theatre. The ticket is $8 per person and if its the first day of release for a good movie, like for instance Rang De Basati, then its safe to do an online booking before you head out.
During a recent phone conversation to India, my dad mentioned that a movie ticket price in Chennai is anywhere between Rs.120 to Rs.350 depending on your comfort level and theatre preference. If you want to watch a film at Satyam theatre, which used to be one of our favorite haunts during high school and college days, it now costs around Rs.300 total.

Ticket price: Rs. 120-350

Popcorn and Pepsi/Coke: Rs.90-110

Small meal (if you want to have): Rs.140 or so

I am just stumped looking at the expense, thinking about the times when we used to be able to watch a movie for Rs.30-40 bucks or even cheaper. But, if you think of what special K and i spend for catching a movie at the local IMC or Naz, it comes upto slightly the same or higher in terms of an evening out.

But, i am sure that its probably worth paying in India to sit inside the Satyam's newly renovated digitally enhanced theatres to enjoy a movie. If you walk into the interior of the IMC6 in San Jose, a musty smell of oldness and peeling paint off the walls with a dull light greets you and makes you wonderfor a moment if this was a theatre in the US or if you were sitting inside the halls of a cinema theatre in a town like Chidambaram or Karaikudi. But still, with all the complaints, we end up going, just to get a taste of watching Thalaivar or a nice tamil masala padam on big screen.

I guess there will soon be a time when producers begin to realize that home viewing can become a great revenue source and the trend has already begun as new DVDs are being released sooner than they used to be. So, even if you don't end up going to the theatre, you will always have a chance to see it, which is what we decide to do many times when we don't feel it worth going to IMC6.

Again, privacy laws are being enforced more strictly and you can't argue with the fact that certain films are better enjoyed on big screen.



raz said...

yep! vertain movies watching in big screen is fun.. but i like to watch movies be it in "thiruthu" DVD or in theater with frndz.. the fun is priceless :) , last week went to kalaba kadahal movie with coll galz- the hero is our senior, aweful movie but we enjoied the max! :) :) :)

Balaji said...

u used to watch it for Rs 30-40?! i remember watching movies for Rs 5 and even Rs 4.90!!

and u're spot on about the insides of IMC6 :)

Balaji said...

oops... that should be Rs. 2.90 :)

Raju said...

Good post. I will be able to give my input (hopefully) after a few months.. :-)

I have missed the movie-watching experience in theaters so much.. A home theater and even my dream-pet Plasma TV cant replace the widescreen with a popcorn on hand..

Raju said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
naan said...

I can't believe it is 350Rupees now..its not the India I knew once, thats for sure!!!

mitr_bayarea said...

movie watching in theatres with friends, esp during college days, as you rightly said, that kinda fun is priceless and can never be got back..enjoy ur college days as much as you can, those are some of the best times in one's life.
Arya senior-a? Entha college?

wow! Gone are those days when movie watching was a cheap outing. Yes, after commenting so much on IMC6, don't be surpised if you see me there this weekend.

oh apdiya. Guess the absence of something will only make it more valauble. I felt the same way about going to the theatre when i was a grad student in Boston, would long to go for a tamil padam in theatre, but after coming to the Bay Area, no more complains.

yes, as a couple if you go, it does turn out to be expensive and still the theatres in India are running house-fulls.

Nyneishia said...

Oh yes.. I remember those days.. I think Rs 60 is the highest i ever paid..Things have changed sure.

Well i used to get cassettes for Rs 15.. All my audio collection of every move then released.. Rs 15 used to be a big deal. I had to give every excuse, every reason and defend the song to let my mom buy it. huh.. n now. Rs 50 -60 for the same or 250/- for a CD.

smiley said...

The prices have shot up, one of the reasons for more piracy also. It is the same at Mayajaal, but I think the weekend rates are more. Though some movies are good to watch at the movie hall, those guys don't rewind or play in slow motion the scenes we need to repeat :) Better at home

raz said...

da! :) I finished coll way back in 04' from crescent , arya ( jamshed- thats his real name) was my senior from batch 01'!!!

Me too said...

And why would people not go for VCD(thiruttu or otherwise) if ticket costs are so high.
I too was shocked when my brother said the tickets in 'Mayajal'(a trendy theatre mall on Mahabalipuram road)are about Rs.500!! But then people working in tech fields start at 5 and 6 figures salary these days too!

Ram.C said...

Had gone thru all those low cost movie visits.Many of them were at less than Rs.10/ as BB had mentioned.

The last movie which I watched in India was 'JJ' in Satyam complex and it was normal, since the new theatre was not there at that time.

Hopefully, next time I should try to experience the new theatre as well.

Viji said...

Bangalore, anyayam. Regional movies-100, English-150. Gold class- 500. What's more, Gold class tickets get sold out soon!
I remember watching "Jumanji" for Rs.6 in Kumbakonam, but that was a long time back :)
Have lost interest now... I don't go to theatres, if I can help it. Epdiyum konja naalla "indhiya tholai katchigalil mudhal muraiaga" potruvan... ;)
My brother said he found Bangalore to be more expensive than the US of A, the last time he came here.

mitr_bayarea said...

yes, all my audio cassettes of the 80-90's were boughtat Rs.15-20, ippo CD velai is Rs.250, unbelievable.

yeah, mayajal has its own hi-fi atmosphere to macth its rates, didn't know that weekend rates were higher.

raz:hmmm...i.c, Arya was my brother-in-law's high school batchmate from SBOA.

me_too: yes, but tech folks are the ones who get paid that much, not all the common folks, i guess there are always theatres like Thyagarja etc for the localities.

Ram: Rs.10 bucks kaalam-a neegal, then i guess, it must make alot of difference to you. Yes, try the new Sathyam theatre, it seems they have couple seating that cost more.

Viji: Gold Class-a in Bangalore, seems like some sort of royal movie goers price. True, "indhiya tholaikatchi muthal maurai"....LoLed at that....

Kaps said...

Home video business may not be a profitable proposition for the producer. lot of Indians rent movies and the revenue from such rental goes to the shop keeper and hence the producer may not benefit. unless the producer gets a share in this revenue or he enters into some kind of direct distribution model, i doubt whether they would move bid time into home entertainment. However if the CD, DVD prices are reduced, more people will buy them instead of renting it and the producer stands to gain.

mitr_bayarea said...

hmm...i guess by further slashing CD/DVD rates, folks may end up renting or buying movies and not want to spend on going to the theatre.

Shiv Shankar said...

Watching Movie in theatre is a social activity .the who ..idea of goign out ..enjoying with the frens in the theatre ..then eating out fun .YEs watching movies with frens in DVD is also fun but ..but nothing beats going to movie hall ...Many a times ..i driver 120 miles to get to IMC6 to watch tamil movies.

mitr_bayarea said...

shiv shankar-
hmm...i guess at times, its worth going to the theatres just for the sake of it. Its amazing to know that you drive from Sacramento to come here to IMC6 to catch a tamil film. So, did you watch Pattiyal yet?