This Navratri, get ready for some edge-of-the seat action while watching Hrithik Roshan’s latest outing War. Your seats at the theatre will move in sync with the actors’ gravity-defying stunts on screen. PVR Cinemas has tied up with Canadian motion technology player D-BOX Technologies Inc for these specially designed seats that offer a more immersive experience at two of its theatres — one each in Delhi and Mumbai.
Five screens in total have been equipped with the D-BOX seats at the two theatres where patrons will have to cough up anything between 50 per cent and 100 per cent more than a conventional movie ticket.
D-BOX Technologies is spread across 42 countries, with 720 screens and 70 Hollywood titles. War is its first Hindi title and marks its entry into India. Vanessa Moisan-Willis, vice-president-marketing, D-BOX Technologies, said it is betting big on the Indian market, where each theatre roughly screens around 400-450 titles in a year.
For PVR, setting up a new screen roughly costs around Rs 3 crore. The cost is higher by up to 50-60 per cent for premium screens, said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer (CEO), PVR Pictures.
Around 14-15 per cent of PVR’s 800 screens (or around 115-120 screens) are premium format — Gold Class, IMAX, 4DX, Playhouse, PXL. Gianchandani said the share is inching towards 17.5 per cent now as the exhibitor adds new screens. PVR has plans to add 80-100 screens this year and about 15 would be premium screens out of these, he said.
“Big-ticket purchases may have slowed down. Car sales have been falling in the past few quarters. But, in small-ticket purchases, people are aspirational. We want to capitalise on this aspiration,” said Gianchandani.
Making the entire experience of going to the movies more unique and immersive helps to increase footfall, which exhibitors feel has shown no signs of letting up.
He added, “We want to fight piracy, alternative distribution platforms like over-the-top, television. We want to make the experience unique, un-replicable and something that cannot be done at home.”
Other major multiplex chains are also not left behind.
“We are the highest operator of 4DX worldwide. When we brought 4DX here, there was no market outside of Mumbai. This was around 2014,” quipped Devang Sampat, deputy CEO, Cinepolis. He added that Cinepolis has many premium formats worldwide which it continues to bring to India — IMAX, 4DX, Cinepolis VIP, Cinepolis Junior, Macro XE (large-screen format).
Sampat, however, feels that more than the premium formats, it is also important to deliver consistent experience every time someone walks in. “For example, we have a brand called Coffee Tree. In the lobby, this is a separate area where one can find gourmet food,” he said.
Cinepolis operates around 380 screens. Around 10 per cent of them would be premium format. Going forward, around 12 per cent of the new screens would be premium.
Inox Leisure, on the other hand, said it got new technologies like ScreenX and MX4D to India. “We also became the first operator to introduce Samsung Onyx LED screen in Mumbai. In case of premium screens, besides the technology, it is also about the overall experience. Therefore, we have exclusive elements like food and beverage offerings and unique interiors to further premiumise these premium formats,” said Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure.
“We have a total of 53 premium formats, which include 38 screens in our ultra-luxurious cinema format Insignia,” added Tandon.