Three pointers to gauge the craze for a film…
- Check if the cell phone rings incessantly, with people enquiring about the audience feedback / b.o. response;
- Check if your neighbors / friends / relatives hound you with phone calls, requesting you to use your 'influence' to manage tickets for the weekend show;
- Check if the conversation with all and sundry gradually veers off to this movie.
SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA was the topic of discussion. On Friday morning, people were discussing the merits [and demerits] of the film. By Friday noon, the stupendous start at the ticket window was the topic of all discussions. After weeks of no-show / tepid start, the thunderous opening of SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA akin to a cool-n-refreshing shower in sweltering heat.
SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA was expected to open big, but its tremendous start at multiplexes came as a pleasant surprise. In fact, the distributors of the film were more than surprised too, since action films generally don't open big at multiplexes. But SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA has proved this theory wrong.
What does one attribute the fantabulous start to? Three factors, in my opinion --
- One, the massive star line-up;
- Two, the promotion -- qualitative as well as quantum -- was superb. A positive buzz was created the moment Gupta and Lakhia introduced the first promo at I.I.F.A., Dubai last year and G.I.F.A., Malaysia subsequently;
- Three, the curiosity to watch a real-life incident only accentuated the demand.
SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA maintained its superb collections on Saturday and Sunday. The 90% + collections in its opening weekend have ensured a quick recovery for its distributors. In fact, at the rate it's faring, SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA should fetch 'Overflow' [Hit] from its second/third week itself in some territories.
Time for Gupta and Shobha and Ekta Kapoor to pop champagne!
If SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA fetched a hurricane-like start, its 'rival' this week -- CHEENI KUM -- fetched a thanda start at most screens. But let's not panic. Soft / romantic films generally open slow and gather pace depending on how the audience feedback is.
In this case, CHEENI KUM started sprinting on Day 1 itself. The collections rose to 70% + by evening / night shows at several screens. Saturday showed a jump, not just in Mumbai and Delhi, but even at places like Indore where 'multiplex films' aren't everybody's idea of entertainment.
Sunday showed an upward trend again, while Monday onwards, the film has been maintaining reasonably well at select multiplexes. I feel, CHEENI KUM will maintain steady collections in the forthcoming weekend. If that happens, CHEENI KUM would pave the way for cinema that defies stereotype.
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: May 26-28, 2006]
FANAA opened to packed houses from East to West, from North to South. In terms of business, the opening was bigger and better than RANG DE BASANTI and MANGAL PANDEY. FANAA was 90%-95% at both multiplexes as well as single screens.
The first day collections were unprecedented. In Indore, where most film crash on Day 1 itself, FANAA had a record start. In Jodhpur, another 'A' class centre of Rajasthan, one prominent theatrewala was jumping with joy, “Jitne log theatre ke andar hain, utne theatre ke baahar.” Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad… it was a frenzy. FANAA had embarked on a record start everywhere.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: May 27-29, 2005]
It's Yash Raj again! BUNTY AUR BABLI opened on May 27 last year, while FANAA on May 26 -- is it a mere coincidence? It was a foregone conclusion that BUNTY AUR BABLI, starring the two Bachchans together for the first time, would open to a historic start everywhere. The Yash Raj brand, coupled with the fact that the real-life father-son jodi were paired for the first time, generated tremendous curiosity prior to its release.
Although the opening of BUNTY AUR BABLI wasn't cent per cent everywhere [extra-ordinary at multiplexes and big centres], the pairing of the two Bachchans, the Yash Raj brand and of course, 'Kajra Re' went on to make BUNTY AUR BABLI a big grosser.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: May 21-23, 2004]
YUVA was touted as one of those biggies that would bail the industry out of its current crisis. Unfortunately, the film did not live up to the gargantuan expectations. The film trade was in a state of shock, what with the distributors and exhibitors having invested all their faith and fortune in this mega venture that was expected to be a money-spinner.
The general feeling within the industry is that films targeted at the youth work wonders at the turnstiles. In this case, not only did the film star six top-of-the-line youngsters, even the title [YUVA] was youth-oriented. So why did the audiences accord a cold welcome to this flick? Whatever the reasons, the not-too-happening opening response to the film proved that big names do not necessarily guarantee big openings.