Last week was a trailer of what to expect if the strike called by producers/distributors takes place from 4th April onwards. Let me explain...
AA DEKHEN ZARA hasn't opened at the national chain of multiplexes. It was released at stand-alone, independent multiplexes. The multiplexes, hence, had to do with the remaining two new releases - EK - THE POWER OF ONE and VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH.
Everyone knew that EK - THE POWER OF ONE wasn't a 'multiplex fare'. The producers were pitching the film to the hardcore masses, the single screens mainly, given the overdose of action scenes in the film. VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH, on the other hand, catered to a niche audience. Translated into simple terms, it meant the plexes had to rely on two diametrically opposite films that, ironically, weren't ideal multiplex fares.
The worst fears came true on Friday. EK - THE POWER OF ONE was terrible at most plexes, a complete non-performer, while VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH was greeted with almost empty halls. Now imagine the plight of multiplexes from 11th/18th April onwards [8 x 10 TASVEER might attract footfalls at plexes this Friday]. There would be more ushers than the audience!
The question is, how long will plexes continue to run the show in the absence of new releases? I sincerely hope that a solution is arrived at asap.
AA DEKHEN ZARA is targeted at the youth and the plexes usually report healthy returns if the yuppie crowd patronises them. The business is robust especially during the opening weekend. AA DEKHEN ZARA had to rely on stand-alone multiplexes and single screens to sustain. A few good single screens reported 30% - 50% occupancy over the weekend, but at several screens, the business was as low as 20%. The stand-alone plexes fared better, around 50% - 60%, but Monday onwards, the business has shown a sharp decline.
EK - THE POWER OF ONE was better at some single screens over the weekend, around 30% - 50%, but was disastrous at plexes. As for VIDESH - HEAVEN ON EARTH, the film is a supreme disaster.
The first three months of 2009 are dominated by flops, with 95% of films failing at the box-office. Imagine the plight of the industry in April and May. Expected in the coming days: The strike, elections, cricket matches and overall recession... God help us!