At a private screening of METRO on Saturday night, David Dhawan and I got into a discussion on the penetration and potential of Hollywood films in India. “SPIDER-MAN 3 is just the beginning. Wait and watch, Hollywood films will overpower Hindi films in times to come,” he remarked. I endorse this statement completely!
Times have changed indeed. Twenty years ago, an English film would be released at two/three cinemas of metros mainly. But things changed with JURASSIC PARK. And the growth of Hollywood films in India is for all to see. Today, a keenly anticipated Hollywood film is released at 500 + screens and the quantum of business has increased manifold in turn.
SPIDER-MAN 3 lived up to the colossal expectations, fetching the best start of the year so far [the opening was 95%-100%]. The paid previews were packed to capacity and the opening shows on Friday were chock-a-block, even at centres where Hindi movies have an edge. In fact, the opening was so strong, so omnipotent that all Hindi films got eclipsed in the process, including last week's TA RA RUM PUM.
I strongly feel that Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Harry Potter and James Bond are powerful brands and the Indian audiences, especially kids, look forward to their films with as much enthusiasm as they await a DHOOM 2 or a KRRISH. No wonder, you see CASINO ROYALE and now SPIDER-MAN 3 generating a tremendous start at the ticket counters.
SPIDER-MAN 3 swept like a hurricane on Saturday and Sunday, setting records at several stations. The first weekend business is truly gigantic, here are the stats…
- Biggest opening weekend for a foreign language film in India - Rs. 19.17 Cr.
- Biggest single day collections for a foreign language film in India - Rs. 6.64 Cr. on Friday.
- Biggest Saturday [5th May] collections for a foreign language film in India - Rs. 6.19 Cr.
- Biggest Sunday [6th May] collections for a foreign language film in India - Rs. 6.34 Cr.
- The fastest to cross the Rs. 10 crore mark - in 2 days.
- Biggest ever release - 588 prints [English 162, Hindi 261, Tamil 78, Telugu 78, Bhojpuri 6, IMAX 3]. The widest release for Hollywood in India.
- Outpaced the previous 1st weekend record holder CASINO ROYALE [Rs. 14.94 Cr.] by 28.3 %.
The super-success of SPIDER-MAN 3 will only strengthen the market of Hollywood films in times to come.
The Friday also witnessed the release of YATRA, an offbeat film starring two mainstream actors -- Nana Patekar and Rekha. Released with negligible hype and as good as nil awareness, the opening of the film was disastrous at most screens. Not that fantastic promotion would've ensured a great start, since SPIDER-MAN 3 was too huge an opposition by all counts.
Besides, YATRA is too weak a film to stand on its feet. I doubt, if viewers would be able to decipher what the director intends saying through the film. At least I had a tough time understanding certain portions. At the ticket counters, YATRA came without a bang and left with a whimper.
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: May 5-7, 2006]
36 CHINA TOWN, the much-hyped whodunit directed by the badshaahs of thrillers [Abbas-Mustan], had a potent start at several places, especially at multiplexes. That sure came as a respite in the dry season.
There was tremendous curiosity to watch the whodunit. Besides, the stance of no private screenings/no paid previews prior to its release only sharpened the interest in this Mukta Arts-produced enterprise. That explains why the film started well at several centres [65%-75%], although the opening numbers at some places [single screens] were plain ordinary. The audience attendance was clearly divided.
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: May 6-8, 2005]
Ekta Kapoor has achieved an enviable status on the small screen, with her shows dominating the popularity charts. But success continued to elude her when she tried her hand at feature film production. Her first three releases -- KYUN KII… MAIN JHUTH NAHIN BOLTA, KUCCH TO HAI and KRISHNA COTTAGE -- all starting with 'K', went kaput at the ticket window. But with KYAA KOOL HAI HUM, the mother and daughter team of Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor were grinning from ear to ear. Not because the film abounds in funny jokes and situations, but because the business of the film was upbeat.
On the other hand, MAIN AISA HI HOON didn't generate any heat at the box-office. This Harry Baweja-directed film had an exciting face-value as its trump card, but the moviegoer was just not interested. Frankly, the promos of this Ajay-Sushmita-Esha starrer itself did not create much buzz amongst cinegoers. Consequently, its not-too-exciting opening didn't come as a surprise either.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: April 30-May 2, 2004]
The month of April commenced on a positive note [MURDER] and ended on a much better note -- with the keenly anticipated SRK starrer MAIN HOON NA opening to a thunderous response. Oh, how could we forget MASTI, released in the second week of April? The laughathon also contributed in boosting the sagging morale of an industry that was desperately waiting for a hit to come by.
The expectations from MAIN HOON NA were manifold, also because SRK has produced the film himself [in association with Venus]. Expectedly, the film took a flying start everywhere, silencing those who felt that SRK minus the Johars and Chopras would not really find as many takers.
The opening weekend collections of MAIN HOON NA were better than KAL HO NAA HO at several places [in U.P., K.H.N.H. did not open too well, while MAIN HOON NA had a thunderous start despite heavy rains lashing most parts of the state] and at par with DEVDAS [in Mumbai, almost all theatres had been sold-out in advance booking itself].