VIJAYAWADA: Five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, shopping malls, cinemas and even food courts are running short of customers.
There has been at least 50-60 per cent dip in sales at all these places. In fact, some cinemas, especially single theatres, have almost become empty.
Despite it being a Sunday, most cinemas wore a deserted look due to the shortage of cash in the hands of the people.
Some cinemas in the city have been facing losses as it is and now, the management at these institutions claim that they may not even be able to pay their power bills.
The occupancy in single screen theatres, which have a seating capacity of 370 each, has come down to 10 per cent.
“Usually for every movie, there would an occupancy of 60-70 per cent and never less than 50 per cent. But in the present scenario, occupancy is only 10 per cent. We didn’t sell even a single ticket for a night show this week. The situation has never been as worse as now,” said Gopala Prasad, owner of a reputed cinema in Vijayawada.
Movie collections of the day have also come down drastically from Rs 10,000 to less than Rs 4,000 a day. As a majority of the people are spending their day standing in banks and ATMs, none it seems is in a mood for entertainment.
“The government took a foolish step and we are facing a great loss in our business. The government should have brought new Rs. 500 notes first rather than the Rs. 2000 notes. We are facing great difficulty in getting change even though the notes are valid. Over 25 per cent of the people are going back due to the lack of purchasing capacity and change,” explained T Ramana, owner of another theatre.
Besides owners of cinemas, film distributors are also facing equal heat with the ban on high denomination currency.
The distributors are in a major dilemma, whether to release a film in these adverse circumstances.
“The duration from the month of November to January is very important for all movie producers and distributors. But now we are seeing bad times and suffering unimaginable losses. The currency issue is hitting us hard,” said KVV Prasad, a film distributor.
The screening of Telugu films has been stopped in multiplexes of the city recently following a dispute over revenue sharing between the distributors and the managements. This too has added to the woes of the distributors.