Wednesday, 29 July, 2009

Why movie stars pay the most tax

The film ads proclaim, “Rs 120 crore collection!” The seats are empty.

What’s up? Yesterday’s Times of India offers hope out of the mystery.

According to an article titled India makes almost as many films as US, Japan & China, an average Indian movie ticket costs $ 0.5 while an average American ticket costs $ 7.2 and a British ticket costs $ 9.5.

Now, Hindi, Tamil and Telgu films collect a good amount from overseas. A few reasonable assumptions and you have:

  Here US UK
Per ticket 0.5 7.5 9
Seats per hall 400 150 150
Shows per week 28 28 28
Weeks' stay 4 2 2
No of halls 100 30 20
% filled 15.85% 6.16% 4.25%
Seats filled per show 63 9 6
Tickets sold 4,50,27,370 1,43,630 45,455
$ earned 2,25,13,685 10,77,224 4,09,091
Total in $ 2,40,00,000    
in Rs 1,20,00,00,000    


Of course, films are imported elsewhere too. The Middle East must be a big market, at least wherever movies are allowed. And there’s Southeast Asia.

And I refuse to believe that the average ticket price commanded by a big movie in its first few weeks is as low as $ 0.5 (Rs 25). Surely they make much more in the multiplexes.

On the flip side, one wonders if Indian films get 4 shows a day throughout the week outside India. But we don’t need the details now.

The point is that with a weak rupee, a hit rate of1 in 25 should be good enough to turn any movie into a blockbuster, and Indian moviemakers need never look for non-Indian (Chinese, Western) audiences because Indians abroad are enough!

No wonder stars pay the highest taxes: They have so much to spare. The tragedy is that almost everyone else connected to movies – technicians, bit players, ushers - seem to be making a pittance. Why?

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