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16 Jul 2019, Edition - 1463, Tuesday

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Coimbatore

Local Body Entertainment Tax: Boon or bane for film industry?

Vignesh Vijayakumar

Ending the strike against Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to introduce Local Body Entertainment Tax, cinema halls across the State are getting ready to release new films from Saturday.

When the Goods and Services Tax was rolled out in July, the prices of tickets in both multiplexes and single screen theatres went up. Twenty-eight per cent GST was charged for tickets priced above Rs.100 and for those below Rs. 100, 18 per cent tax was charged. For instance, the Rs. 120 ticket was priced at Rs. 153 post GST (sans online service charge).

Watching a movie in a cinema hall has become a costly affair now with both GST and the local body entertainment tax.

For Tamil films, the tax rate has been reduced from proposed 10 per cent to 8 per cent and for other language films the LBET is 20 per cent. With this, the maximum price of a ticket in a multiplex would be Rs. 204 (including taxes), and the lowest Rs. 63. In air conditioned halls, the maximum price would be Rs. 126 and Rs. 100 in non air conditioned halls.

According to S.P.P. Bhaskar, Secretary, Kovai Film Society people would think twice before going to theatres. ”Many movies will be released during Diwali. People eagerly wait for their favourite actors’ movies. The earlier price hike itself was very scary. The proposed tax will further burden movie goers. This is not going to help the film industry either,” he said.

Another film goer who didnt want to be named said, “I love watching films and I go regularly during weekends. The price hike has disappointed me. From now on, I will be choosy. Video piracy will be rampant now.”

S. Babu, President of Kovai Vijay Fans Club hoped that rise in ticket fares does not affect his favourite hero Vijay’s film release this Diwali. “We are hopeful, and we are confident that the price rise won’t affect audience response to the film,” he said.

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