Box-office can be extremely volatile. Let me come to the point right away. The business of the four medium/low budget films -- GO, CHHODON NAA YAAR, IT'S BREAKING NEWS and 50 LAKH -- was so low [less than 15%; at places, 2%-5%] that it sent shivers down the spine of the film fraternity across the country.
Let's talk of GO first. The cracks were visible at the premiere screening on Thursday night itself [a day before the film hit the screens], when several guests walked out of the screening midway through the film. In my individualistic opinion, GO is RGV's weakest film to date. Worse than JAMES and SHIVA. Even RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG. I still cannot believe it's a Factory product.
Despite eye-catching promos being aired round the clock, GO failed to create any ripples at the ticket window. In this case, I wouldn't blame the holy month of Ramzan or the India-Australia cricket matches for its non-performance at the box-office. A film like GO would've sunk even during Idd, Diwali or Christmas vacations.
CHHODON NAA YAAR had no pre-release buzz and the almost empty halls that greeted the film didn't come as a shock either. Also, CHHODON NAA YAAR had a faulty script, so that made things worse when theatres commenced public viewing of the film.
IT'S BREAKING NEWS was targeted at multiplexes, but even the multiplex junta didn't endorse the film. I genuinely feel that the film would've met with a better fate had the makers timed its release after Idd. Last-minute promotions [the music launch took place on Wednesday, two days before it hit the screens] didn't help either.
50 LAKH lacked in face-value and also promotion to attract footfalls. I genuinely found the film engrossing in parts [especially the first hour], but the writing went haywire in the post-interval portions. Besides, why this last-minute promotion? The audience wasn't even aware a film called 50 LAKH had opened.
All said, the tally of flops only grew bigger this week!
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: October 6-8, 2006]
Its common knowledge that the pre-Diwali weeks coupled with the holy month of Ramzan make a big dent in film business. With all eyes on the Diwali/Idd releases [DON, JAAN-E-MANN], every other film in the orbit is bound to get eclipsed. But that didn't deter six producers to release their films this Friday: ZINDAGGI ROCKS, MERA DIL LEKE DEKKHO, JAANA - LET'S FALL IN LOVE, IQRAAR BY CHANCE, BHOOT UNKLE and GAFLA. Not surprisingly, the six new releases met with a similar fate: Rejection!
But what did come as a rude shock were the opening day numbers, which were horrifyingly poor. The collections were not in lacs or thousands, but hundreds in some shows. In fact, when I called a leading multiplex on Friday evening to crosscheck the occupancy, I was told that the shows of two new films had to be called off due to lack of audience, while the remaining films were being screened with 5%-8% occupancy. A similar trend was being witnessed at other centres where those films opened.
What does one attribute the disastrous start to? One of the prime reasons for the slump is the low-key pre-release promotion. In certain cases, the films came virtually unannounced. In such a scenario, how do you expect the moviegoers to throng the movieplexes?
Another reason -- a vital reason in this case -- was the lack of solid content. ZINDAGGI ROCKS lacked soul, MERA DIL LEKE DEKKHO tried too hard to be funny, JAANA - LET'S FALL IN LOVE was outdated cinema, IQRAAR BY CHANCE was archaic as well, BHOOT UNKLE was good intentions gone awry and GAFLA wasn't everyone's idea of entertainment.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: October 7-9, 2005]
I wasn't surprised at the cold response meted out to MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH. The film was barely promoted prior to its release and came literally unannounced. If that wasn't enough, its release was timed during Ramzan and Navratri.
MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH is targeted at multiplexes and its release should've been backed by a two-month promotion at least. Ideally, UTV should've timed its release during the Diwali week -- its promotion would've been optimum by then and also, with the paying public thronging movieplexes in large numbers, the collections would've been much better.
A film like MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH would've co-existed with any of the Diwali biggies, since it wasn't the type that would cut into any film's business. On the contrary, there would've been a strong possibility of MAIN, MERI PATNI AUR WOH getting the surplus crowds if the tickets for a biggie were unavailable.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: October 8-10, 2004]
Although BRIDE AND PREJUDICE met with mixed reactions from the British press, that didn't deter moviegoers from thronging the cinema halls in large numbers. Going by the opening weekend collections of Gurinder Chadha's latest film, the U.K. audiences embraced and welcomed the 'Bride' with love and affection.
In India, as expected, the English version of the film fared better than the Hindi version. Although the Hindi version did fetch a better opening than the two Hindi openers, SHUKRIYA and WAJAHH, one definitely expected BALLE BALLE [the dubbed version of BRIDE AND PREJUDICE] to open much better.
The weekend was less kind to the other two Hindi films, SHUKRIYA and WAJAHH; both having met with a cold response from moviegoers.