Sometimes, the box-office revenue outweighs the general perception the audience may have about a film.
Take, for instance, last year's three blockbuster hits -- MAIN HOON NA, MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGI and VEER-ZAARA. The reactions to the films, keenly anticipated all, were mixed. A section of the audience loved them, a section of moviegoers found them way below expectations.
The media, expectedly, went all out to pull the films down. Besides the negative reviews, the talk within the film industry was extremely off-putting and pessimistic as well.
Something similar happened with KAAL this weekend.
Last week [Monday, to be precise], even before the film opened in theatres, obnoxious text messages did the rounds of the industry. "Esha Deol is the killer. She kills Vivek first, then John" did the rounds. Some people were obviously trying to sabotage the film by revealing the so-called identity of the killer five days prior to its theatrical release.
A day later [Tuesday], talk that the film was "not carrying encouraging reports" spread like wild fire. This, when Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan -- the producers of KAAL -- had resolved not to hold any screenings before Wednesday. So, if the preview screenings weren't held, on what basis did the negative talk originate?
On Wednesday, the actors of the film watched the film for the first time. On Thursday, Karan's close friends were invited for a very private screening. That means, the "outsiders" watched the film only on Thursday and whatever the reports, positive or negative, should've originated only after Thursday, 9.30 p.m.
Of course, the text-messages grew nasty as days progressed, with one text-message going to the extent of saying "Enjoy National Geographic on the big screen with excellent sound effects. Sorry, the killer is not Esha Deol, but Soham."
But despite all the negative talk, KAAL opened to a fantabulous start everywhere. The opening was almost 100% at practically all centres, confirming the fact that this Karan Johar-SRK joint venture had taken the best start after VEER-ZAARA.
KAAL has a major advantage in its length [2 hours], unlike VEER-ZAARA, which was of 3 hour + duration. While VEER-ZAARA was screened in 3/4 shows every day due to its excessive length, KAAL was screened in 8/9/10 shows every single day, for the entire week [at some multiplexes, 10 shows were held on Friday, 12 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday, due to public demand]. And with KAAL running to packed houses on the first three days, the distributors made a killing in its opening weekend.
Another advantage that KAAL has is its budget. Now let's compare the budget of four Dharma Productions' biggies:-
|Film||Approx. Budget [Rs.]|
|KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI||16/17 crores|
|KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM||Over 45 crores|
|KAL HO NAA HO||32 crores|
|KAAL||12.5 crores, includes prints|
and publicity since Dharma
is distributing the film in a few territories
[The above-mentioned figures have been confirmed by Karan Johar]
Incidentally, KAAL has had the biggest opening for Dharma Productions, bigger than even K3G. And at the rate the film is faring, several territories should make money in the second week itself.
The strategy to release the maximum prints  has been a wise move for two reasons: One, to reap the maximum benefit due to its unprecedented craze and two, to counter video piracy.
The business trends since the past one year have shown an upswing on weekends, with the collections registering a drop on week days. It's happened with all recent releases, including WAQT - THE RACE AGAINST TIME and LUCKY - NO TIME FOR LOVE. KAAL is no exception. Its collections did show a decline from Monday onwards. But the drop has been in the range of 15% to 25%, which is not an alarming drop considering the number of prints in circulation as well as the number of shows being conducted every day.
All said and done, the first week shares of KAAL will be historic, trend-setting.
Let's not forget that if the film opens big on weekends, the investors can be assured of a quick recovery and that explains why LUCKY, WAQT and now KAAL are in the plus. Thankfully, the balance sheet in April will show a rosy picture thanks to these three biggies!