What will be the real on ground effect of the Rs 200 limit on multiplex tickets? The test will come soon enough. As we have seen before, it is the big non-Kannada films that have spurred the exorbitant prices of tickets in Bengaluru's multiplexes. Let me reiterate again that though the cap is for all theatres, single screens and theatres outside Bengaluru hardly ever have ticket prices above Rs 200. It is only multiplexes in Bengaluru that have these unreasonable price.
The test of the impact will come in April when the big non-Kannada film Baahubali the Conclusion is releasing. The Telugu film is among the big non-Kannada film releasing in Karnataka this year. In 2015 the first part of the film was released and for weeks multiplexes had high ticket prices for the film. After that film, Hindi film Bhajarangi Bhaijaan also had high ticket prices. These films are said to have drained Rs 50 crore from the Karnataka market to outside. These two films also affected other films because audience who normally watched 3-4 films in a month ended up watching only one movie.
The effect of Rs 200 cap is already being witnessed in the case of Baahubali. Expecting high ticket prices, the demand from distributors for Karnataka rights of the film was said to be Rs 35-40 crore. But since the announcement and expecting it to be implemented within a month before that film releases, the demand for the film from distributors has come down drastically. The distributors were expecting to recover the money within two weeks of release by pricing the film very high in multiplexes. But with the cap of Rs 200, the film will have to have a longer run of at least 4-5 weeks with the same capacity.
Expecting that the film may find it difficult to recover such a huge amount, the asking price for the film has come down drastically according to sources. Infact except for Baahubali no other non-Kannada film had demanded so much money for distribution rights in Karnataka. Even Rajinikanth's Tamil films which enjoy large appeal was sold for much less. Only two non-Kannada films have been sold for more than Rs 10 crore in Karnataka for distribution. One is Baahubali The Beginning (Telugu) and the other is Kabali (Tamil). All other films including of big stars was available for Rs 2-3 crore earlier has now doubled or tripled. But not all of them make profit.
Chiranjeevi's 150th film Khaidi No.150 was brought to Karnataka by paying Rs 8 crore. The film just about managed to recover its cost for the distributor. The film was a remake of a Tamil film. Now another Telugu film releasing this month Katamarayudu has been purchased for Rs 7 crore. The film will escape the Rs 200 cap. So it will be Baahubali which will be the real test for non-Kannada films in Karnataka. Going by the success of the previous instalment, the film may make big money. But how the local distributors react to the Rs 200 cap will decide the fate of non-Kannada films henceforth.