PVR Theaters: PVR to install more than 20 ICE theaters in India based on performance of demo screens

India’s flagship PVR chain, which recently signed an exclusive agreement with French exhibitor CGR Cinemas to bring its high-end screen format ‘ICE Theaters’ to India, will consider rolling out at least 20 screens in India, if the pilot is the first of three to operate.

“When it comes to introducing a new specialty format, we first try the software and then perform satisfactorily, we roll it out in droves,” Renaud Palliere, CEO of Luxury Collection at PVR, told ET.

Initially, the company will launch three ICE theaters – one each in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

“The first three will come very quickly, within the next six months. We will run it for about 12 months and we have enough data to move forward with the project.” We’re probably looking at 20 screens and if they’re working very well, we can get far beyond that.”

While he declined to share details about the cost of each screen, he said these screens will start making money within three years.

“As part of our agreement with CGR, we have signed non-disclosure agreements, so we cannot reveal the cost, but we are looking at a good ROI within three years of making this spend. This will be simply by increasing occupancy due to the expected popularity of the format, and increasing Marginal in the ticket price too.

He added that the price increase would not be very high, and in line with the money one would have to spend on any other specialty format the company is currently managing, including IMAX, 4DX or PXL.

ICE Theater is like surround sound for visual effects. It has side panels that, together with the screen, create a peripheral vision, which does not distract the viewer from the movement or the dominant image, but gives a sense of enhanced immersion by having a background contrast between colors and movement.

To date, more than 100 Hollywood films have been released in the ICE theater format, including ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, ‘The Batman’, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’, ‘Morbius’ and ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’. 2′, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

With the format arriving in India, PVR hopes that even Indian producers will go to remake their films for this format.

By the way, studios do not have to pay for their films to master this format.

“There is no cost to be incurred on behalf of the studios for this to happen, so a major hurdle has already been removed. Second, since there is no change to the main image there is no creative challenge.”

In April, PVR Cinemas entered into a similar exclusive partnership with Oma Cinemas, a premium auditorium concept created by French architect Pierre Chaccan, to bring opera-inspired cinemas to India. PVR is working on the pilot project, which is expected to be ready in 18-24 months.

PVR, which has 858 screens in total, offers a few premium formats – IMAX, 4DX, Playhouse, Gold, LUXE, PXL, ONYX, Drive-in and Director’s Cut. Currently, premium screens account for less than 15% of all PVR screens, which Baller said will increase over time.

“At the group level, premium screens represent about 15% of the total screens, which is increasing over time due to a strong and consistent demand for a more premium experience,” he said.

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