The business continues to slide downwards... and the tally of flops continues to shoot upwards. In the recent past, a number of films have had a sluggish start at the ticket window, gathering momentum [over the weekend] only if the word of mouth was effectual. The business sank to an all-time low last Friday as three significant films [GULAAB GANG, QUEEN, TOTAL SIYAPAA] clashed with each other. The *early shows* at some screens had to be called off due to lack of audience, while the occupancy at several screens was pathetic. It sent shock waves across the corridors of the film industry.
What does one blame the miserable and depressing start to? Examination period? Cricket matches? Plethora of movies invading the cineplexes week after week [too much choice for moviegoers]? Or is the spectator keen on spending his/her hard-earned money on movies that truly carry a strong word of mouth, post release? Of course, you cannot judge the merits of a film on the basis of how it opens on Friday morning, since there are umpteen examples of movies gathering momentum and hitting the bull's eye subsequently. But a tepid start is indeed worrisome and shakes you up.
Amongst the three Hindi releases that opened last week, QUEEN seems to have stolen the march in the domestic market, although the final figures [opening weekend biz] are still awaited. Its BO collections escalated rapidly over the weekend, with the business witnessing a big turnaround on Day 2 and Day 3 after an unsteady start. The growth at high-end multiplexes of urban centres was incredible, while the glowing reviews by the paying public as well as critics and super talk from reputed names within the film fraternity boosted its prospects.
But GULAAB GANG was not as lucky, although the business did escalate [albeit marginally] over the weekend. The confusion over its release made a dent in its business, since a section of the audience wasn't aware that film had released on Friday. TOTAL SIYAPAA, on the other hand, was aggressively promoted prior to its release and the promos too were talked about and appreciated, but the buzz was not overwhelming. In such cases, the word of mouth and reviews play crucial roles and since the talk was largely negative, the business remained low-key all through the weekend. However, its robust performance in international markets [UAE and Pakistan in particular] has come as a respite for its investors.