With the onset of summer vacations, the business generally shows an upward trend from April to June, but the low-key response to two of the three films that opened last Friday [April 7] did catch a number of industrymen by surprise. In fact, barring SHAADI SE PEHLE [good first week billing in Mumbai, Delhi-U.P., Rajasthan], the other new releases, BANARAS and SAAWAN, generated less heat, finding it difficult to stand on their feet in the opening weekend itself.
SHAADI SE PEHLE had a poor start on Thursday [Ram Navmi holiday]. In fact, the opening day figures of this Subhash Ghai-produced laughathon were in the range of 20% +, although a few centres reported a much lower audience turnout. But things improved on Friday and the collections stabilized on Saturday and Sunday, in some pockets. Monday was dull, but the holiday on Tuesday helped to an extent.
Although the audience feedback ranged from average to poor, SHAADI SE PEHLE has done decent business in Mumbai [Mumbai city-suburbs, Gujarat], Delhi-U.P. and Rajasthan. In fact, the distributors of this moderately priced film are hopeful that they would be able to recover the costs in days to come.
BANARAS was the worst affected of the lot. In fact, the collections of this well-made film were in the range of 8%-10% at several screens, which came as a rude shock. BANARAS is targeted at the multiplex audiences, but, surprisingly, even the multiplexes wore a deserted look during its show timings.
One of the prime reasons why BANARAS went unnoticed was because the promos didn't generate any heat prior to its release. Also, a title like BANARAS - A MYSTIC LOVE STORY has its limitations. However, I must add that in terms of audience feedback, BANARAS enjoyed better reports amongst the three releases, but it caters to a tiny segment of viewers and hence, such poor business everywhere.
The third release, SAAWAN, took a better start in the Hindi belt [40% +] because of the star presence of Salman Khan. But the audience reports were outright negative; consequently, the film went downhill from Day 2 itself. In fact, the moviegoers felt cheated that Salman was plastered on all posters/hoardings when the fact remains that he arrives slightly before the intermission and appears in parts towards the second hour.
There was talk that the business of SAAWAN might get a boost, courtesy the free mileage the film got thanks to the Salman episode. But nothing of the sort happened. Only goes to prove, yet again, that any amount of controversies or publicity cannot salvage a bad film.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
[Weekend: April 8-10, 2005]
If the first quarter of 2005 ended on a tepid note, the second quarter of the year [April to June] commenced on an exhilarating note. The much-awaited season of biggies commenced with LUCKY and in an otherwise arid movie-going scenario, the film notched a fabulous start everywhere.
After a long, long time, serpentine queues were witnessed outside both single screens and multiplexes. After weeks of no-show, the 'House Full' boards sprang up at the entrance of cinema halls, which, frankly speaking, is such a rarity these days.
Salman has always been that proverbial dark horse. He doesn't have the Chopras or Johars to back him, he doesn't exercise restraint on the number of films he ought to do every year [unlike some of his colleagues!], he doesn't play up to the media, his personal life makes more news than his professional… Yet, the actor's films [most of them] fetch a superb start.
Promotion also played a crucial role in creating tremendous excitement for LUCKY. The quality and quantity of promos were both splendid. Besides, T-Series, the masters in promotion, left no stone unturned in not just making the film, but releasing it with the hype it deserved.
LUCKY performed exceptionally well during its first weekend. The film had a wide release and most multiplexes performed six/seven shows every day, garnering superb collections all over. With a fabulous start on hand, half the battle was won. The collections did totter on Monday and Tuesday [Indo-Pak cricket match], but given the magnificent start of the film, it proved a plus proposal for its investors eventually.