With the start of Cricket World Cup 2011, ticket sales at cinema halls and theatres across Pakistan has dropped down by more than 50 percent and it is predicted that film and stage business will bear a loss of 250 million rupees, the media reported Tuesday.
“During the first three days cinema business suffered a loss of more than 60 percent, while the theatres for stage performances have witnessed a decrease of around 50 percent,” revealed a survey carried by the Jang newspaper.
“As the World Cup enters the second round, where big teams clash against each other, the decline in ticket sales could be around 70-80 percent,” stated the paper while quoting industry pundits.
Javed Ali, manager of a local cinema, said: “We have decided to postpone the release of new Pakistani or Indian movies because of lack of response, while other cinema houses are contemplating a closure during world cup to avoid losses.”
“The already dwindling film and stage industry in Pakistan is expected to receive a financial setback of over 250 million rupees during the six weeks of the World Cup,” the paper quoted anonymous sources as saying.
“In the wake of existing trend, a proposal is being considered by some cinema owners to show world cup matches at giant screens and recover revenues by cashing upon the world cup fever.”
Pakistan’s film industry, which has been on the decline for several years, got a respite when ban on screening of Indian movies was lifted in 2007 after a gap of more than 40 years.
The world cup started Feb 19 and the matches are scheduled in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan withdrew as the host in the wake of terrorism threats, so the fans are forced to resort to TV screens instead of going to the stadiums.
The terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009 was seen as the last nail in the coffin if the country had any hopes of staging the world cup matches.
Pakistan’s first match is Feb 23 with Kenya.