Sterling is shut down

As you can read here, Sterling cinema is shut. It will be converted into a 3-screen multiplex. Multiplexes make huge money, not only from usage of space and reduction in fixed overheads but also, though tax exemptions. It’s a smart business move by Noel Tata.

I can understand that economics will push more cinemas down the multiplex route. However, the fact that governments are incentivising multiplexes is incredible. On one hand, the government actually forces multiplexes to hike ticket rates so that the one-screen movie halls could attract viewers. On the other hand, they subsidise ‘capital-intensive projects’ like multiplexes, for attracting investments! For more on what the government does, go here.

“For all existing and upcoming multiplexes there will be total exemption from entertainment tax for the first three years. For the next two years, a 25-per-cent exemption will be available. All other taxes, such as property tax, water tax will stay. The multiplexes will have to fulfil certain conditions before they become eligible for the concessions…Each multiplex should have a video parlour for the children, an art gallery, an exhibition centre, a cyber cafe besides an adequate number of refreshment stalls and restaurants. One of the theatres in the complex should be utilised for staging Marathi plays for a certain number of days. Of course, there should be adequate space for car parking.”

Talk about meddling in things where the markets can play a role. A puny little space with three paintings becomes the art gallery and exhibition centre, some Marathi movies are shown at strange times in one of the halls. Plus, somewhere at the back, the place will have a computer called the cyber cafe. All this to enjoy fiscal benefits. What does this result in?

My favourite cinema hall being shut down for a while.

6 Comments so far

  1. arZan (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

    That sucks.

    Sterling was my favorite theatre. As much as mutiplexes are in vogue, i still prefer the big 900 seater halls and not the tiny 200 people halls that most of these multiplexes are.


  2. Akshay (unregistered) on May 14th, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

    Another one bites the dust, first Metro than Sterling. Who’s next – Regal, Eros ? Nooo.
    I don’t want to pay 180 bucks for a movie at Inox and sit 2 rows from screen.
    I know G7 (Gem, Gaity, Galaxy etc) in Bandra seems to have found themselves a little loophole


  3. pragni (unregistered) on May 15th, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

    Noo, not Sterling.. I still remember the times when we would all bundle up in a western local from the start station to the last to go to Sterling and catch the best of english movies. Casper, Home Alone, Nine Months.. et all. Even the popcporn there was just so different.. so Sterling..


  4. dhoomketu (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

    Arzan, yes. I also prefer the 900 people halls. I wonder whether some of these halls could have continued to run for niche audiences if the government didn’t intervene.

    Akshay, Regal? :-O

    Pragni, I hope the multiplex will still have the same popcorn. I hope…


  5. Dibyo (unregistered) on May 20th, 2006 @ 2:15 am

    Sad, the way the last remaining places with attitude are going down.

    But, what’s wrong with Marathi movies? (teehee)


  6. Chintan (unregistered) on May 21st, 2006 @ 9:30 am

    I can’t believe that they are shutting down sterling … it used to be like a days excursion to go and watch a movie at sterling and hung out there … too bad its getting shut down



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