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    Single screen theatre or a Multiplex, which is better

    Have a query about the economic feasibility of movie theatre? Wondering if the modern multiplex is better than traditional single screens? Find responses to your questions on this page from our ISC experts.

    With the growing age of cinema and the multiplexes invading the cinematic viewing experience, a question still looms large.
    Is the old age single screen theatre or the modern multiplex the way going forward?
    Which is better in terms of box office revenues?
    Which is better for the movie going public?
    Which is better for the film industry to grow?
  • Answers

    20 Answers found.
  • It makes no difference when you have a confirmed ticket for a particular movie and for a particular show. You will feel the difference only when you have no advance booking and you have to try for a ticket after going to the theatre and you are not particular about a particular movie. In such a case, multiplexes are better. The probability of getting a ticket will increase within the same premises when there are more screens in a theatre. During my student days, in Kakinada, East Godavari Dt of Andhra Pradesh, all the cinema theatres are on the same street. So we used to go to that street and try the tickets in any theatre for any movies based on the availability. Those days multiplex concept was not existing.
    For box office revenues, multiplexes may help a little better than single screens. If you aim for a movie and go to a multiplex, if you are not able to get a ticket for the movie you wanted to see, you will not come back. generally. We will go to another movie which is available on the next screen and thus there is a chance the revenue generation for the movie may increase.
    Multiplexes are better for cinema industry to grow. More theatres available for the cinemas to get released and the availability of screens will be better for the producers as within the same premises you will have more screens. That will help the producers to go for more movies and that will help the industry.
    The important advantage of multiplexes is land usage. The land used for a single theatre will be almost equal to that of a multiplex. So the land requirement will come down to theatres and that will make sure of the availability of land for other productive works. I feel the government should impose a rule that 40% of the area purchased for a multiplex or a cinema theatre should be utilised for green belt. That will give a good boost to tree plantation and greenery development.
    On the whole, I am of the opinion that going for the construction of a multiplex is better than going for a single movie theatre.

    always confident

  • I strongly disagree with your views. The movie going public has come down greatly during the last 10 years and one of the major reason for it is the high price in cinema theaters and especially the multiplexes. Imagine a Middle class family going for a movie on their holiday to a Multiplex. Even the least ticket price of 150 or 120 at a Multiplex, added with the out of the world canteen prices for the food items would really burn their pocket. So, a family of four would ideally need to spend nearly 1000 at a multiplex, whereas at the single screen, it would be nearly sixty percent for the same movie. Footfalls for the movie are the major point for business. Unless, the footfalls increase, the middle class or lower middle class cannot afford a cinema, they better stay at home and enjoy their Cable TV channels. Cinema industry is basically a business which also offers jobs to thousands. Bring more single screens with affordable pricing and automatically the footfalls will increase. Else, with only multiplexes, Cinema going will gradually become an elite luxury.

  • With time, many new entertainment avenues are introduced in the market. Same thing happened when transition from single screen picture hall to multiplex took place.

    It was not a simple transition. In fact it was a transition from middle class entertainment to upper middle class and upper class entertainment as there was a drastic change in the entry ticket.

    The increase in ticket discouraged many people for going to see the movies in these posh multiplexes where not only the ticket is significantly higher but the eatables are also prohibitively expensive.

    Now, less people may be going to view movies but due to high price of tickets the revenue generation is all right. So for film industry there is not much problem.

    Another interesting thing is now internet and TV are slowly merging with each other and only those people will be going to see movies outside, who have interest in going for outings with friends and having bites of some modern snacks in the multiplexes.

    The ease of seeing movies in the comfort of the house is a major factor which is changing the pattern of movie goers to a large extent.

    Knowledge is power.

  • The ease of seeing movies in the comfort of home can never match the experience of seeing a movie in a theater. Movies are made to be watched in the theater. You can fully enjoy a movie only inside a theater, when the lights go off, enjoying the emotions of a movie with an audience from various walks of life. Also, the notion that increasing price of tickets in multiplexes is not harming the industry. As the footfalls go on decreasing, to make up for the loss, the ticket prices need to go up. The people will become more choosy and only watch a movie after seeing the reviews. An industry where the success ratio is just five percent, that would be lethal. We need to take inspiration from China which has now become a super power when it comes to Cinema. Even Hollywood movies are looking at China to make up for their revenues. Its largely because of the number of single screens that China has come up with during the last decade. With a more cinema frenzy population than China, we also need to look in that direction. Cinema needs to survive. Single screens with affordable pricing are the only option for that.

  • Internet and TV have certainly invaded our homes and eaten into most of the time. People rather prefer to enjoy a movie on internet resources such as Netflix or their favorite TV show on Television rather than spending bucks going out in the traffic to a theater. Agreed, there are so many challenges for theaters. The government also needs to step in to save the industry that has given so much. Piracy needs to be controlled. China again has taken rapid steps to curb piracy. It is the reason they have a size able amount of movie going public. China is about to overtake the whole of North America in coming years in movie business. Why can't we do it? We can certainly with a few measures.

  • The role of multiplexes has assumed a significant importance now a days since the audience feel comfortable with the environment which such houses provide. Moreover, the clarity of the movie with a matching sound in the compact environment providing flexible temperature of AC make the picture enjoyable one.
    Though money is important and the charges of tickets of multiplexes are comparatively on the higher side than that of Cinema - halls but then the comforts in the former cases would be superior and hence viewing a picture in multiplexes would certainly enhance pleasure.

  • Again, I would beg to differ on the view that multiplexes provide better facilities than Single screens. I can certainly give a list of a number of single screen theaters that are providing better if not equal facilities that a Multiplex can provide and that too at an affordable price. Sound clarity, AC etc are also of equal quality as compared to the multiplexes. And what about the exorbitant rates that the Multiplex canteens? There cannot be an argument on that. You can go to a Multiplex and the same food items costs at least thrice in the Multiplex than the single screen. The normal audience cannot be taken for a ride. In a country where most of the population is either in the poverty line or comes under middle class, we need to encourage more single screens.

  • While I do agree that the upper middle class and the elite class would certainly prefer Multiplexes, taking into consideration the set up of our nation and the incoming of a common man, Single screens are the way forward. A single screen theater can work in any area or environment, be it a village, a small town or a posh upmarket area. However, the multiplex can mostly run only in an upmarket area or a commercially viable area. Also, most multiplex complexes make up their revenues through alternate sources like shopping malls etc inside the buildings. A single screen is a dedicated place which is only devoted to cinema. For a country like India, Single screens are the best option. Also, more single screens would mean more employment as compared to a multiplex. The burden on the pocket is less. Ask anyone who has seen cinema during the 90's in a single screen and now in a multiplex, the difference is clear. Single screens provide the ultimate theater going experience, whereas multiplexes for me provide a commercial experience. Movie watching is an experience, not just a visit to a theater. Only a Single screen theater can offer it.

  • If you go to any metro city, the multiplexes offer you great comfort and are also superbly maintained. You positively get to rub shoulders only with the elite crowd in such environs. You will not find guys smoking or breaking any rule, like making the place dirty, which is likely in a single screen theatre.

    Now coming back to each question you have raised. Since the advent of information technology has brought in a huge change, the single screen theaters are also closing down. They have all become huge shopping complexes in most cities. The multiplexes offer something different. For example, you can hang out with your girlfriend, do some little shopping and also do a huge amount of window shopping for a full three hours on a lazy Sunday, have lunch within the complex and then happily go on to view a movie in air-conditioned comfort. In summer, this becomes a huge habit for the young IT crowd. This is exactly what will happen to every city.

    Now, the profits come from the cities only. There is quite a bit of disposable income and people like to freak out on the weekends. For just around Rs.150 you can enjoy a good multiplex movie in Chennai. These huge shopping malls are simply superb places where you can spend hours. There is so much of chatting going all around. Please do note that there is no rule in the smaller non-AC theaters. The Management charges at least eighty rupees, almost as a right. This is what happens.

    The growth of multiplexes will spread to even tier 2 and tier 3 towns such as Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, Hubli, Kanpur, Vijayawada, Kurnool, Calicut and so on. This trend will continue to happen. In fact, the entire film industry will depend only on this for profit.

    To give you a simple example. The Kamalhassan's movie, named Viswaroopam 2 is just a very average movie. The climax is now literally structured to give a boost to the actor's innings in politics. He is shown as a secular person. However, this has found resonance only among the city crowd and the huge amount of money is coming only from there. It has gone away from smaller towns within just four days.

    The crowd in smaller cities does not want anything., The pirated videos are available so freely. An entire family can watch it for less than one hundred rupees. There is so much of cost cutting there.

    In Tamil, the movies by say Manirathinam, who is an all India director, have a big urban or city focus and are the stories cater to the IT crowd. The same movies are either made in Hindi, or dubbed and released in Hindi. Sometime ago, there was one such movie on the concept of living together.

    This trend will continue. Movies will be made, but the ones that cater to the urban, city or metro city based audiences will win the race. The multiplexes will continue to make in the money, as the "snob" value is so great and this will become even more pronounced in the years to come.

  • Though I respect his personal views in the above comment, I strongly disagree. A particular movie like Viswaroopam cannot be taken as an example for encouraging multiplexes. And multiplexes for the IT crowd cannot be an argument. I can assure that there are hundreds of IT guys who are also hardcore fans of a particular movie star who want to enjoy the movie in Single screens. Non AC theatrers or AC single screen theaters have rates also according to the convenience they provide. And the concept of smoking in theaters is not confined to Single screens itself. This is going on everywhere in every walk of life. You can even find huge set of people smoking right under any IT company. This seems a vague argument. Certainly, multiplexes can be built in cities or upmarket areas. However, imagine the plight of a common man who earns a daily wage of 300 or 200. How can he afford to pay 150 Rs just for a ticket price? This section of society and the middle class form the major chunk of the population in India. If we still would like to ignore them and build more multiplexes, the day is not far away when movie going would only be an elite experience. Movies are for everyone, from the elite to the one's who fight for the daily survival.

  • This question has no single correct or wrong answer. Both single and multiplex have a role to play depending on the circumstances and other factors.

    1. Perception: The perception that one is better over the other will depend on the age of the viewer and personal choice, for me the good old nostalgia of watching a move in a single screen dedicated theatre, seeing the huge cut-outs and buying snacks in the small modest food counter all at a very affordable price.

    2. Geographic location: In many major metros multiplex are proving a success because of the swanky looks, the decor and their proximity to the favourite hangouts of the teens and the youth. More importantly, in the cities where land is a precious commodity, the single theatre owner would not be able to be profitable with the one screen that runs one morning show of one movie and three regular shows of a different movie.

    The same would work out in a rural area, where the crowd is smaller, the life is different from the metro and still, the charm of a single theatre is viable and practical.

    3.Expectations of the owners. There would be some franchise runners who would like to earn money running a mutliplex or just keep the single screen theatre running as long as possible for the love of it.

    So, to your specific questions

    Is the old age single screen theatre or the modern multiplex the way going forward?

    Yes, multiplex would be the way forward as a change is inevitable in any walk of life.

    Which is better in terms of box office revenues?
    Both would be good for any single movie, for the pure finance numbers, multiplex would bring in more.

    Which is better for the movie-going public?
    This would depend on the above discussions, for me in the metros, the multiplex is better because it is easily accessible, we finish some Sunday chores and shopping, have food before or after watching a movie in a multiplex.

    Which is better for the film industry to grow?

    For the film industry to grow, it is better to adapt and go with the flow of change, so a planned transition from single screen to multiplex depending on the location would be better for the film industry. We can have a few single screens as nostalgic landmarks in the city or metro that can be supported financially and kept running by the city corporation as a local heritage building.

  • People making a comment that single screens should be kept as nostalgic landmarks and multiplexes are the way forward seem to be highly secluded from the real India. A nation which has the maximum amount of people living in villages and smaller towns can never agree with a Multiplex format. Imagine a village or small town and a Multiplex is opened there. Would there be any chance for the Multiplex to make business? Whereas a Single screen can run anywhere right from a distant village to a posh upmarket area. There lies the difference. We also need to take into account our countries economic and social conditions. Way forward can only happen if people from every walk of life are given the right to entertainment. Multiplexes will deny them the right to entertainment with sky high prices.

  • 1. Is the old age single screen theatre or the modern multiplex the way going forward?
    - New age will be multiplex only. single screen theaters will be only for classics. A 70mm full screen can not be implemented easily with multiplexes so still you will find atleast one single screen theater in metropolitan city.
    2. Which is better in terms of box office revenues?
    - Multiplex is better unless a single screen has box office hit. As expected single screen can accommodate more audience so it will have more income for a movie but overall income will be for multiplexes.
    3. Which is better for the movie going public?
    - Multiplex is better if wanted get tickets easily otherwise single screen is much better if movie is running there too.
    4. Which is better for the film industry to grow?
    - Multiplex is always better and since now 4D is getting implemented , tickets are getting high price and income is soaring.

    Life Is Beautiful

  • Am afraid the author of this thread is so much sold on the concept that single screen theatres are far better and they also provide good viewing experience at very less costs.

    The truth is that in almost every city and even small towns the single screen theatres are history. Audiences do not flock to the theatres like they did some years ago. If the movie is just run of the mill, one can notice that the single screen theatres have less than fifty people watching the movie be it a village or a small town or a big city. Only movies with somewhat emotionally absorbing stories run and help the producers keep their heads above water.

    Take the example of the much hyped Kaala which was released after the 68 year old Rajnikant announced his entry into politics. It bombed. The B and C centres took it off the screens within four days. It was the usual stuff. The storyline was not absorbing.

    On the contrary, a simple movie like Thenpaandisingam which spoke about the virtues of joint family in a rural setting became a hit. It is into fourth week in some places and that itself is a big deal, when it is so difficult to carry a movie for a pretty long time.
    When you have four movies releasing every week and some unknown director and producer fighting it out there, unless the storyline is good it can never succeed in the smaller centers.
    The multiplexes are totally different. They virtually hand hold the young crowd and its snobbish values. It is consumerism at its best. It is the symbol of the New India. It is the chance for the young to " just be". It is professional marketing at its best. Though the author does not agree, the fact is that every single guy comes there not merely to see a movie but also hang out, even after the movie is over.
    The rules of the game is different. It is a totally different ball game. This will go hand in hand with the pirated video menace. Thousands comment that Kaala is worth viewing only on laptops.

    It is also sheer economics. How the hell can we have single screens when the theater owners do not make money? Yes, the hero makes crores. The dumb glamor girls who dance with him make crores as well. But what happens to the producer,Sir? He might become a pauper within ten days. I think the economics does not work in favor of single screen theaters. Look at Chennai, which used to have so many theaters. Money is now never an issue. Even the unemployed enjoy the movies mostly in multiplexes. It is happening all over. The same theaters will be demolished and the multiplexes will screen ten movies in one go!!! This will continue to happen. After all, when the sun beats you down at 42 degrees, would you not like air conditioned comfort for ten hours?
    We need to look at realities. Even the very small district headquarter towns are now beginning to have huge shopping malls and the multiplexes.

  • I really fail to understand that everyone is trying to compare multiplexes and single screens with only a particular movie like "Kaala". Single screen or multiplex, the movie would not have worked as it was bad. Its as simple as that. I can give hundreds of examples where there are Single screen centric movies still running in Bollywood and earning huge without even a proper script. Take for example, Tiger Shroff movie " Baaghi2". It had a shoddy script, 90s kind of action sequences and it was aimed at the single screens only. It grossed 150 crores. I am certainly not against Multiplexes, but only trying to say that Multiplexes need to co exist along with the single screens. Single screens need to be more in the villages and smaller towns. Multiplexes can become dominant in the cities, however do not completely shut down the single screens. Yes, there are certain Multiplex centric movies, but I can give numerous examples of movies that are also single screen centric or that cater to both. Consumer needs to have a choice, a choice of watching the movie as per his money requirements, as per the luxury he needs. Please do understand the per capital income of the average Indian before doing away with the single screens. A farmer who works hard in the sun all the day or a labour who works hard throughout, does not bother even sitting in a small single screen theater with minimum facilities because he needs to pay less. Be compassionate, entertainment cannot be limited to the elite or the privileged ones.

  • This is such a question which does not have any definite reply. Everybody responding to this question can only express his or her opinion on this issue. I am also expressing my opinion.

    (a) Multiplexes have changed the business model of the Indian film industry. Now, the hit/flop is determined by the performance of the first-week shows of a particular film. This didn't happen even twenty years ago.
    (b) The costly tickets in multiplexes and associated costs have forced people to watch movies in halls. Nowadays most people prefer to watch movies on television. Nowadays mainly youngsters watch movies in multiplexes.
    (c) The technical excellence has improved in the multiplexes. Multiplexes are much better than traditional cinema halls in this regard.
    (d) The multiplexes have sounded the death knells of low-budget good movies. The directors of such movies can't book multiplexes to show these movies.
    (e) Overall, in my opinion, the multiplexes have squeezed the space for Indian film industries. This will ultimately prove bad for the health of the film industry.

    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

  • Yes, everyone is entitled to express their opinion. But an opinion needs to be honest. An opinion that can speak of the benefits of the common man. A rich man can afford even a price increase of 200 rs, however 200 rs is still a big deal for a person earning his daily wages. There in lies the difference. In a country where there is a huge disparity of wealth between the rich and poor, multiplexes can never benefit the majority. If something cannot benefit the majority, how can an industry survive? The industry needs to find means to increase their revenues and only way forward will be increasing the price. That would in turn put further burden on the cinema going public. Build more single screens, keep the prices relatively lesser, focus on the footfalls. Certainly, keep the multiplexes too in cities and upmarket areas. The government can also help in by bringing down the entertainment tax.

    Cinema is for everyone, let us not make Cinema a luxury.

  • I do feel that in case we including the author would be asked to choose between the LED TV with HD picture quality with an addition of digital sound to that of the old black & white TV then for sure that we all would agree to only choice & we all know about to which side that we all are. And therefore in context to the author's query about which one is better among Single screen theaters or Multiplexes then conclusively we can say that the Single screen theaters are the technology of the past but Multiplexes is the demand of the present. Let's try to figure out the answers of the below questions as raised by the author,

    Q # Is the old age single screen theatre or the modern multiplex the way going forward?
    A # Yes & there shouldn't not be any doubt in it. This query itself elaborates the shifting of technology in varied aspects like the picture & sound quality are far better in the current trend then what it used to be only a few years ago. We have much better facilities in the multiplexes with much better views & arrangements of dining & shopping. You are even facilitated for online booking of seating of your choice. At least that you never imagined this to even a small extent.

    Q # Which is better in terms of box office revenues?
    A # You get the same dining in a small restaurant & even in a star restaurant. The only difference lies in the presentation with some good quality food. No doubt the facilities are also there. The same is the case here that the multiplexes are able to make even the worst scripted movies looks interesting to the viewers.

    Q # Which is better for the movie going public?
    A # As I have witnessed, in my native town except for two or three, all of the cinema halls have been closed & replaced with the duplexes. This is simply because of the reason that the public have been getting selective about their taste. What they used to see in the cinema hall, is now easily available at their home. Those who are slightly comfortable with their finance are using the big screen monitors for their entertainment which can also be linked directly with the internet & can choose the time of their own. And therefore if you can provide the audiences with some competitive edge the audiences are not going to divert but the multiplexes are having this competitive edge to attract more audiences who also are ready to pay.

    Q # Which is better for the film industry to grow?
    A # If the technologies & the trends are changing but we are not then we will continue to be more backward in against the time. Let the single screen theatre be there but at the same time go on adding to more modern multiplexes The things are easy to understand here that anyone who got with more money would always prefer for the multiplexes but the audiences who bound think about their pocket will always be hesitating if it doesn't fit their pocket.

    Finally, whether the Cinema is for everyone or a luxury is a perception of any individual & therefore least to bother about.

  • Well, the above comments seem to be really not in context as per the conditions of our nation especially. The important aspect of money is not being taken into consideration. Imagine the condition where the majority of the public is either middle class or lies in the poverty line, you expect the people to still go to a multiplex shelling out nearly 150 Rs for a single ticket. Movies need to cater to the majority. Multiplexes with these kind of ticket rates can never cater to the majority. So, basically if the multiplexes grow, people are indirectly told that you need to shell out more to watch the movie. We give you better sound, better facilities, we provide food in canteens at rates unheard out. But then, because technology is changing, you are bound to change. This is absolutely being inhumane to the living conditions and purchasing power of the average citizen. We are not averse to multiplexes, however closing down the single screens and building more multiplexes will only cut down the footfalls. So, if you certainly wish only the creamy layer or the people with good purchasing power only to be able to enjoy movies on big screen, go ahead with the multiplexes. The common man who earns his daily labour or the salaried middle class person who barely meets his months expenses would be deprived of watching movies in future.

  • Multiplex are better because it provides more screens and more number of people can watch different movies at the same time. Consequently it creates more box office revenue.

    The crowd in multiplex is much better and sensible than crowd in single screen. They got much better understanding about the movie which is being displayed. The reason for this is people appearing in multiplex are more educated and carry a broad mind while in Cinema(single screen) mostly there are college students who are there just for fun or lower middle class who is narrow minded.

    Now days you can also see that crowd from lower middle class (educated) also prefer to be in multiplex due to better crowd and other perks

    These days in India everyone has JIO internet in lower middle class. So the ones who really can't afford or do not intend to spend use their android to watch movies. Piracy is crime but we all know it still exists.

    More number of screens also opens the doors for a low budget movie to showcase its idea through means of advertisement. This will eventually lead it to grow. And their work will be able to receive appreciation they deserve.

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