Let's start the 'Biz Talk' column with an interesting anecdote!
There are instances of big films -- starring big names, helmed by equally big entities and released with big hype -- failing to attract a big initial, while a small film, released in the same week, wins the race. The one example I always quote is that of the biggie LAMHE and the unknown PHOOL AUR KAANTE releasing on the same Friday. While LAMHE failed at the ticket window, the unknown PHOOL AUR KAANTE, starring an unknown lead pair [Ajay Devgan, Madhoo], unknown producer [Dinesh Patel] and an equally unknown director [Kuku Kohli], proved the dark horse.
PHOOL AUR KAANTE was unknown till the day of its release, but after the conclusion of its first show on Friday, it was the most talked-about film of its times.
Something similar happened this Friday. The industry had set their eyes on two films [BIG BROTHER and LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE], but it was the third film [BHEJA FRY] that stole the march.
Both BIG BROTHER and LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE were extremely clear about their target audience in their promotion. The promos of BIG BROTHER were designed for moviegoers who prefer raw action, while LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE was more for the urban viewer. The promotion of BHEJA FRY gathered momentum a few days prior to its release and one look at its likable promos and you knew that this one was for the multiplexes.
The release strategy adopted by the distributors of the three films was flawless. In fact, the distributors were in no mood to flood the market with as many prints as possible, but open their films at outlets that matched the genre of the film. BIG BROTHER was released at single screens mainly [very, very few multiplexes], while LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE and BHEJA FRY obviously chose multiplexes.
BIG BROTHER had a better start [50%] in North [expected]. Action films have an edge in the Northern territories [Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab] and if Sunny Deol heads the cast, it's sone pe suhaaga most of the times. But the absence of a captivating script proved a major obstacle for this film. Aren't violence-laden films passé? In this case, the stunts weren't executed stylishly, but were crude and raw. I wish I had carried my ear-plugs to dilute all that noise that this movie had to offer.
BIG BROTHER stumbled as days progressed and with Sunny in an action role as its 'USP', the film fared somewhat better in some pockets of North. Elsewhere, this misadventure got what it deserved.
LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE was a non-starter from the word 'Go'. It isn't a bad movie-going experience; in fact, it ranks amongst Vikram Bhatt's better films. But the problem, as I see it, is the absence of names that would draw the audiences to theatres. A prominent multiplex owner agreed with my viewpoint, besides blaming the thanda title for the poor response.
Starting on a slow note [15%-20%] everywhere, the business refused to pick up as days progressed. Let's get one thing straight: If the collections don't pick up on Saturday and Sunday, expecting a miraculous leap on Monday is foolhardy. It rarely happens these days. It's indeed sad that LIFE MEIN KABHIE KABHIEE didn't work. It definitely deserved a better fate.
Now to the surprise! BHEJA FRY isn't your routine commercial film. It's more of an experiment that stresses on humor. But the collections showed a slight increase on Friday night, were much better on Saturday [50% +], while Sunday was better than Saturday at most screens. Mumbai and Delhi multiplexes performed the best, but what's surprising is that even at a centre like Indore, where multiplexes films don't have a large market, the film has shown an upward trend in collections.
Now let's look at the figures! The film is faring very well in Mumbai city-suburbs and circuit…
Friday - 8,36,816
Saturday - 17,68,286
Sunday - 21,91,089
Monday - 7,35,369
|Days||Fun, Ahmedabad||Inox, Baroda||E-Square, Pune||Inox, Pune|
Now let's glance at the day-wise collections at Indore, another 'A' class centre…
Note:- The film is being screened at limited/few shows.
Monday was at par with Friday/Saturday [and at places, better] at several screens, which is a positive sign. A low-budget film that has been sold for more than reasonable prices, this one is a success in certain circuits.
THIS WEEK IN 2006
[Weekend: April 14-16, 2006]
It was touted as the first big potential hit of summer. But when HUMKO DEEWANA KAR GAYE opened on April 14, it was evident that the industry would still have to wait for a hit. HUMKO DEEWANA KAR GAYE had three major factors going in its favor: Fresh casting [Akshay, Katrina teamed for the first time], fabulous promotion embarked upon by T-Series [who also happened to be the producers of the film] and Akshay's all-time high popularity.
There were other factors too: An open week [EIGHT - SHANI and BASIC INSTINCT 2 were hardly any oppositions] and the onset of summer vacations. Plus, Friday was a holiday. So what went wrong?
One, the public opinion was extremely poor.
Two, the tremendous hype surrounding the film only worked to its disadvantage. There was nothing original about the film. In fact, HUMKO DEEWANA KAR GAYE came across as a poor imitation of Yash Raj's successful films, besides a number of Hollywood films.
The collections of the second release, EIGHT - SHANI, were in the range of 5%-8% on Day 1. Need we add more?
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: April 15-17, 2005]
If the film industry was ecstatic thanks to the flying start generated by LUCKY, it was back to square one this weekend. The week witnessed four significant releases -- MUMBAI XPRESS, KUCHH MEETHA HO JAYE, KHAMOSHH - KHAUFF KI RAAT and HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI -- and barring MUMBAI XPRESS [at certain metros], the opening weekend collections of the remaining three films punctured the morale of the industry.
MUMBAI XPRESS fared better than the rest, but it wasn't promoted to the optimum prior to its release. Another two/three weeks of aggressive promotion would've only enhanced the prospects of the film.
On the other hand, KUCHH MEETHA HO JAYE was aggressively promoted prior to its release. A section of the industry was optimistic that it would fetch a better start thanks to its qualitative promos and Arshad's popularity, post MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S. and HULCHUL. But nothing of the sort happened. The content was too weak.
KHAMOSHH - KHAUFF KI RAAT also went completely unnoticed. Shilpa Shetty's seductive posture on the billboards didn't ensure even a moderate start for this thriller, while HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI, which won rave reviews from the media, was not the kind of film that would appeal to an average moviegoer.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: April 9-11, 2004]
With MURDER proving a universal hit and MASTI opening to packed houses, a flurry of activity was witnessed in the film industry. Bigger and better projects were being planned and announced. The almost-extinct tribe of distributors was back, enquiring with producers about their films. The exhibitors were hoping that the forthcoming releases would only compel the audiences to return to cinema halls in a big way.
With MASTI began the flow of big films. The opening of the film was in the range of 90% + and thanks to a terrific start, half the battle was won. MASTI made no pretensions of being an intelligent film. Nor did Indra Kumar ever claim that the film was meant for pseudo-intellectuals or the festival circuit. It delivered what it promised: Loads of entertainment!