Almost three decades ago, I distinctly remember, CHHOTA CHETAN, the first 3D film to release in India, had taken the box-office by storm. Wearing [3D] glasses and watching a film was unthinkable for most Indian moviegoers then. But the novel experience, coupled with the wholesome entertainment that the film had to offer, prompted moviegoers of all ages to rush to the nearby theatre [there were single screens then, no plexes] and enjoy the experience.
After CHHOTA CHETAN emerged a big success, a number of Bollywood film-makers announced their projects in 3D. Almost overnight, film-makers felt that they had finally found the formula to draw moviegoers to theatres. The trade mags were full of adverts of new films in 3D. Not just reputed names, even those without much credibility decided to jump the bandwagon. The first 3D experience from Bollywood, SHIVA KA INSAAF, was a box-office dud and with it, the euphoria and excitement of making films in 3D evaporated into thin air. A lot many projects came to a grinding halt midway, while several films that were announced didn't progress beyond the announcement stage. They got aborted!
But the positive feedback and encouraging numbers of HAUNTED seem to have ignited the trend of making horror and adventure films in 3D. Of course, prior to HAUNTED, a number of Hollywood films, starting with AVATAR, had lured Indian moviegoers to cineplexes, but HAUNTED was akin to an acid test. It's the first Hindi film to release in 3D and a lot many film-makers were keen to know how it performs at the ticket window, before they green-light 3D projects.
HAUNTED has been released in three versions - Hindi, Tamil and Telugu - but the major revenue will come in from the Hindi version, of course. That too from centres screening the film in 3D. The film has cost Vikram Bhatt and his partners DAR approx. Rs 8.5 cr, while an expense of Rs 3.5 cr was incurred on P & A, taking the total cost to Rs 12 cr. The recovery from music is bare minimum [Rs 15 to 20 lacs, but T-Series did approx Rs 1 cr of promotion], while the Satellite Rights of all three versions haven't been sold yet. However, the makers should recover a good chunk of their investment from domestic theatrical business mainly and the revenue from the Satellite Rights of the three versions should only make it a profitable venture. The decent success of the film can be attributed to - yes, you guessed it right - 3D.
Now LUV KA THE END. A section of the industry was confident that it would embark on a fairly healthy start at big city plexes. A month ago, F.A.L.T.U., also targeted at youth, had opened very well and like that film, LUV KA THE END was also expected to entice the yuppie crowd. Though the film hasn't set the box-office ablaze - the numbers are not as expected - you cannot deny the fact that Y-Films took the initiative of releasing the film, starring new names on and off screen, at 391 theatres in India and also released it in theatres internationally [cumulative total is $ 50,000 in its opening weekend from O'seas markets].
LUV KA THE END has cost approx Rs 5 cr to make and the production house spent Rs 4.5 cr on P & A, taking the total cost to Rs. 9.5 cr. The 4-day business [Fri to Mon] has been approx Rs 2.85 cr nett, which is not too encouraging, but Ashish Patil of Y-Films is optimistic. "We always knew it's not gonna happen overnight. That's why we're here for the long haul. We believe in the potential of this genre and in this audience. So we're here committing to deliver 3 films this year itself." He continues, "The audience it's intended for is loving the film and there's a massive buzz on it. We're hoping that translates into giving the film long legs and we clock the numbers."
Meanwhile, Y-Films is spinning off a merchandising line inspired by each film, titled Y-Stuff. A range of super cool t-shirts, boxers, bags and accessories have been launched at The Loot stores [across seven cities] and also online.