Herald: NOTE BAN, GST NEGATE NAYSAYERS
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NOTE BAN, GST NEGATE NAYSAYERS

16 Mar 2019 04:46am IST

Report by
Dibyojyoti Baksi An incisive insight into the fancied filmdom

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16 Mar 2019 04:46am IST

Report by
Dibyojyoti Baksi An incisive insight into the fancied filmdom

 

 

From the wake of November 8 of 2016,

the crusading demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 note had noose almost every Indian to compromise their cash. This had an adverse effect on nearly every business, but film industry was pretty immune to it. Failure of immediate release after that date like ‘Rock On 2’ (November 11) and Force 2 (November 18) customised it as a strong excuse and industry, trade clique strained to ostensibly establish that ‘Note ban’ have crunched the business of a film. I wondered how Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhat starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’ released on November 25 did so well at the box office and Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ did a record-breaking business, releasing closely on December 23. So, it’s quite apparent that demonetisation didn’t have any effect on film business if the makers could venture upon an engaging content.

It might be brow-sweating for naysayers but post demonetisation film business has flourished instead. Until demonetisation , the threshold of a big release was Rs 300 crore , but post ‘Note ban’ big films have fetched Rs 400 crore and ‘Baahubali2’ releasing in the dry season of April 2017 surpassed Rs 500 crore business. Figures don’t lie. From November 8, 2015 to November 8, 2016, 214 films were released and the collection was Rs 2829 crore (Rs 28,29,84,93,961 to be exact) but from November 8, 2016 (after Note Ban) to November 8, 2017 total 229 films were released and the earning spiked up to Rs 3058 crore (Rs 30,58,42,18,089 to be exact) and the earning in the consequent year was Rs 3257 crore (Rs 32,57,36,00,000 to be exact). If note ban had cut deep into the pocket, how could ‘Dangal’ and ‘Baahubali2’ releasing in this period , swept record business at the box-office?

India was reeling under note ban when Goods & Services Tax Law (GST) was implemented on January 2017 and the makers in chorus role out a theory that GST has hit hard on film business and inverse ratio of ticket price (due to GST) to footfall has caused a turbulent sail through. But again, figures falsify such claims. The entertainment tax was never uniform in all States across India until GST was invoked. In Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab it was always tax free where as in Madhya Pradesh , it varied between 15% to 18% tax, in Delhi it was 22%, in Maharashtra its 30% and in Bihar it’s 60% and a distributor was paying different taxes for the same film. So, this discrepancy in tax slab was incurring loss to the distributor and to the multiplexes alike. One India one tax, GST of 28% tax brought the tax-free States also under its purview. Multiplexes, mostly in tax-free States, raised their ticket prices, say Rs 100 to Rs 150 to retain their profit margin. It’s obvious to think that if multiplexes were failing to draw audience in Rs 100 wouldn’t it limit more audience watching a film in Rs 150 further? To everyone’s surprise the business of a film rather increased. In 2017, 247 films were released and the net box-office earning was Rs 3023 crore and it increased in 2018 to Rs 3541 crore with only 203 films releasing that year.

From January 2019 the GST was reduced to 15% and film like ‘URI: The Surgical Strike’ made above Rs 250 crore. This would be first time in film business history that the first quarter of the year would have Rs 1000 crore business when it was never more than Rs 500 crore in this dull period. Film revenue doesn’t depend upon tax!

Multiplex ticket prices aren’t a repellent for a movie lover. ‘Race 3’ was an Eid release and the ticket price were Rs 296 in PVR and Rs 260 in INOX. Nevertheless, PVR drew 11 lakh (1114823 to be exact) audience in the first week and INOX was close to it with 9 lakh (932786 to be exact) audience during the same time. But the ticket price of film ‘Sanju’ was Rs 324 in PVR in the opening week and in INOX it was Rs 258 but still 21 lakhs (2108208 to be exact) watched the film in PVR and around 16 lakh (1692829 to be exact) in INOX. PVR slashed the ticket price of ‘Sanju’ in the second week to Rs 280 but it drew around 11 lakh (1137302 to be exact) people which is almost equal to first week audience of ‘Race 3’. ‘Sanju’ was also released on June 28, at month end , when people tend to tighten their spending but still it didn’t affect the opening of the film.

It’s imprudent to underestimate the (content) taste of audience.

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