The first month of 2006 has ended [how time flies!] and it's time to look at the score card. If the failure of JAWANI DIWANI reiterated the fact that the first week of the New Year is indeed jinxed, the two biggies that opened a week later, FAMILY and ZINDA, fell [collapsed?] even before they could learn to walk. In fact, the dull opening of the two films came as a rude shock to a section of the industry that is under the fallacy that stars work, not stories.
However, the mind-blowing start of the keenly anticipated RANG DE BASANTI, the final release of January, brought solace to an otherwise worried industry.
The hype surrounding RANG DE BASANTI was huge. The film had been sold for astronomical prices and not just the industry, even the common man was eagerly waiting for the film to arrive. And arrive it did with a bang. Released on a Thursday [January 26], to capitalize on the Republic Day holiday, the film took an electrifying, fantabulous, marvelous start almost everywhere.
But before Day 1 could come to a close, the audience feedback had spread faster than wild fire: RANG DE BASANTI had found favor with the multiplex crowd, not as much from the masses. That explains why the collections dropped from Friday onwards [Day 2] at several mass-dominated screens. The multiplexes, however, were holding on exceedingly well, with 90% + occupancy. Saturday again saw a similar trend as Friday, while Sunday [Day 4] again witnessed a downward trend at places, partly due to the crucial Indo-Pak cricket match. However, the multiplexes continued to report exceptional collections.
At the end of the first weekend, the results were crystal clear: RANG DE BASANTI had done rocking business at multiplexes of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and South, but had slided downwards at several mass-dominated screens. Yet, all said and done, the first weekend billing in the domestic market will be huge for four factors:-
- The tremendous hype and the resultant marvelous start.
- The strong business at the multiplexes, which are performing 12-14-16 shows every day.
- The inflated ticket rates at most screens. At some screens, the ticket rates were as steep as Rs. 250 per seat.
- It wasn't a 3-day, but a 4-day weekend.
Post Monday onwards, the film has been holding quite well at multiplexes [the distributors are continuing with the practice of 14-16 shows even on weekdays], but the business at single screens, at mass-dominated centres mainly, is not in keeping with the hype surrounding the biggie.
The vital question is: Will RANG DE BASANTI recover its high costing? Will the distributors, who have acquired the film for heavy prices, recover their investment and make profits? Or will it be a mere coverage proposal thanks to the extra-ordinary start and its business at the multiplexes? Where will the pendulum swing?
We need to watch how RANG DE BASANTI fares in the forthcoming days. If the film holds on strongly in the second weekend, the distributors should sail safe. It's a wait and watch situation as of now!
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: January 28-30, 2005]
The Ajay Devgan-Suniel Shetty starrer BLACKMAIL opened to a lukewarm response all over. The opening day figures ranged between 30% and 40% at several cinema halls across the country. In fact, BLACKMAIL is the third biggie in January [after KISNA and INSAN] to have had a dismal start, despite the presence of A-list stars.
The second release of the week, PADMASHREE LALOO PRASAD YADAV, also opened to a shockingly low response. Its opening was between 10% and 20% at several centres, the lowest for a Mahesh Manjrekar-directed film.
Nothing seems to be working these days [except PAGE 3, which is doing excellent at multiplexes]. Not thrillers [ELAAN, BLACKMAIL, VAADA], not mindless action [INSAN], not crass comedy [P.L.P.Y.], not period drama [KISNA], not sex [ROG]… Frankly, the story of January 2005 is no different from that of January 2004.
A recap of January 2005:-
VAADA [flop], ROG [flop], YEHI HAI ZINDAGI [flop], INSAN [flop], ELAAN [flop], KISNA [flop], PAGE 3 [excellent at multiplexes], BLACKMAIL [flop], PADMASHREE LALOO PRASAD YADAV [flop].