While in conversation with a leading exhibitor about the audience feedback and opening trends of TERI MERI KAHAANI and GANGS OF WASSEYPUR at his theatres on Friday, he made valid remark, which I'd like to share with you: "The business is clearly divided. At places, TERI MERI KAHAANI is leading, while GANGS OF WASSEYPUR had an edge at some places." A number of exhibitors echoed similar sentiments across the weekend. Can't fathom why, but the films in question belonged to diverse genres and were expected to co-exist at cineplexes. In the past, on more occasions than one, two diametrically opposite movies had struck a chord with moviegoers of all age-groups.
Let's discuss GANGS OF WASSEYPUR first! While the plexes of Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon in particular recorded healthy figures, what really came as a surprise was the uninspiring response meted out to GANGS OF WASSEYPUR in the mass belt and also at single screens of several circuits. I mean, the film was aimed at the masses, had raw action [works in these circuits], besides ample mass-appealing moments and shock value, to attract the hoi polloi in hordes. But the audience stayed away. Did the absence of a notable star go against the film in these circuits? Or did the excessive usage of expletives/cuss words keep a chunk of the audience away?
However, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR has a reasonable price tag attached to it. The Cost of Production of these two films [as shared by Viacom18 and Anurag Kashyap] is approx Rs 18.4 cr [Rs 9.2 cr x 2]. Add to it approx Rs 6.5 cr as P & A expenses [of Part 1], which takes the total [of Part 1] to Rs 15.7 cr. Satellite sales and Music should contribute close to Rs 5 cr, which means Viacom18 has to recover Rs 10.7 cr from India theatrical, which shouldn't be tough.
On the other hand, TERI MERI KAHAANI, which was extensively promoted and stars two much-in-demand actors in pivotal roles, failed to take off either. The occupancy at plexes was slightly better in North India, but the overall performance is discomforting. In fact, its performance is lower than MAUSAM in India, which says it all. TERI MERI KAHAANI has been sold for a high price to Wave and the distributor is sure to lose a chunk of his investment thanks to its non-performance.
But the business is expected to witness a boom. The next keenly-awaited release SPIDER-MAN and the biggie that opens next Friday, BOL BACHCHAN, are expected to take the nation by storm. Let's hope that they live up to the lofty expectations!