AGS hopes to launch new multiplex in two months: CEO

AGS Cinemas is pinning its hopes on its upcoming multiplex in Alapakkam, in western Chennai, built at a cost of Rs 35 crore to increase its theatre footprint in the city.
AGS hopes to launch new multiplex in two months: CEO
Archana Kalpathi (right)

Chennai

A top official of the company, which is into production, distribution, and exhibition of films talks about the challenges of navigating Tamil Nadu’s stringent ticket capping mechanisms and ensuring footfalls in the theatre with major English releases such as Avengers: Infinity War, which premiered on Friday.
Archana Kalpathi, the CEO says, “We are one of the few companies with a presence in all three fields in the film business - production, distribution and exhibition. We distribute some big-ticket films and own a chain of multiplexes at Villivakkam, OMR and GN Chetty Road. Now, we are in the process of opening a multiplex in Alapakkam. 
The building is ready, we are in the process of getting all the approvals. So, hopefully, in the next one or two months, we should be launching it.” “This a five-screen multiplex with about 1,850 seats capacity and it’s our largest multiplex on both counts. 
This should bring our total number of screens to 18 and total number of seats to 6,000.” Talking about the opportunities in this space, she says, “Building a theatre is an expensive affair, and only few players have that expertise. 
We are among the few who build, run and own our multiplexes, without leasing them. There is a big opportunity in Tamil Nadu as we have a lesser number of screens in the state as compared to the rest of India. With respect to OTT platforms like Netflix, I see more big films continuing to come into theatres. There’s no way we can get the kind of revenues that we do from a theatrical release, from online platforms. They will only pay for a small amount of a film’s production cost. Close to 80 per cent of the cost is covered by a theatrical release.”
She adds, “We are looking at Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns outside Chennai, but the economics must bode well. Tamil Nadu has a very stringent ticket capping mechanism. In the next six months, we should be coming up with tentative plans for five new locations. For now, we are focussing on blockbusters and big-ticket entertainers, like the Avengers, for which the tickets got sold out in two hours.”

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