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Friday, June 14, 2024

High-end cinemas: Premium tickets and expensive popcorn

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In Short:

Eros Cinema in south Mumbai has been transformed into Eros IMAX, a luxury cinema experience catering to the affluent class with high ticket prices starting at ₹500. This trend has been followed by other luxury formats like Cinépolis and PVR Inox, offering amenities like plush seating, gourmet food, and exclusive events. However, the common man may be priced out of this segment due to content challenges and lack of availability in tier-two and tier-three towns. Luxury cinemas target a genre-agnostic demographic willing to pay for a unique movie experience, even for small and mid-scale films. The challenge lies in providing quality content that justifies the high ticket prices for luxury cinemas.

Iconic Eros Cinema in Mumbai Gets a Makeover as Eros IMAX

The historic red and cream building in south Mumbai, home to Eros Cinema since 1935, has undergone a transformation. Now called Eros IMAX, it boasts a 70 mm motion picture film format and projection system, making it the first IMAX screen in south Mumbai. This collaboration between IMAX and PVR Inox, India’s largest multiplex chain, has revamped the interior while preserving the vintage vibe on the outside.

A New Era for Eros IMAX

With 305 seats, Eros IMAX caters to an upmarket audience from areas like Cuffe Parade, Colaba, and Marine Drive. Reopened in February 2024, this standalone IMAX theater offers a premium experience in a single-screen setting, elevating the cinema experience for discerning moviegoers in Mumbai.

Luxury Cinemas: The Future of Movie Watching

The trend of luxury cinemas is on the rise in India, with properties like Maison INOX in Bandra Kurla Complex redefining the movie-watching experience. Featuring a full-fledged bar, including standalone events and parties, this upscale theater offers a unique blend of entertainment and luxury.

Ajaz Bijli’s Vision for Premium Experiences

Ajay Bijli, the managing director of PVR Inox, believes in segmenting the market based on customer preferences. Luxury theaters like PVR Director’s Cut in Delhi offer lounge areas akin to private living rooms, complete with a library, sushi bar, and top-notch service, catering to audiences seeking a five-star cinema experience.

The Resilience of Luxury Cinemas

Despite challenges like content availability, luxury cinemas continue to thrive by offering a unique social and community experience beyond just the movie. Plush seating, gourmet food, and personalized services attract a discerning audience, creating lasting memories and driving higher revenue per patron.

The Debate on Content and Pricing

While luxury cinemas target a specific demographic, the common man may feel excluded due to high ticket prices. The industry experts suggest that a balance between premium experiences and affordable options is essential to ensure equal access to cinema for all segments of the population.

The Future of Cinema in India

As the landscape of cinema evolves, the focus shifts to creating inclusive and diverse content that appeals to a wide range of viewers. Luxury formats may cater to a niche audience, but the heart of cinema lies in bringing people together through shared storytelling experiences.

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