With the C.C.C.A. calling off the strike in C.P.-C.I.-Rajasthan following assurances by the government, the distributors of this week's three releases are heaving a sigh of relief. The only cause for concern is the impending World Cup matches and how far they'll cut into the business of films. According to a leading Mumbai exhibitor, the aggressive hype surrounding the cricket matches has made such an impact that the entire nation is geared up for the World Cup. "We are expecting a 50 per cent drop in the business right from Day 1, even though it may not be an India match," he says.
On the other hand, some exhibitors feel that the drop will be more pronounced in the first week of March, especially during the semi-finals and finals. "That's the period when we are expecting a sharp drop in the box-office collections. In any case, the business hasn't been too encouraging for some time now and the coming weeks will be an extension of that phase," says Rashesh Kanankia.
Kanakia has received requests from a number of patrons to screen the crucial World Cup semi-finals and finals at his chain of theatres. "I am weighing the possibility of going ahead with it," he says.
Kanakia is also considering the idea of introducing the concept of a 10 a.m. show at his theatres at discounted admission rates. "I've been approached by several young patrons, especially the college-going lot, to introduce morning shows and I am planning to introduce it shortly," he says.
MORNING SHOW CONCEPT DRAWING PACKED HOUSES
Meanwhile, the pioneers of the 10 a.m. show, Shringar Cinemas, are reaping rich dividends ever since they introduced the concept at Fame Adlabs three weeks ago. "The main incentive for watching a film in this show is the affordable ticket price (Rs. 30). Keeping in mind the ambience and the seating arrangement, the price is a pittance," says Neeraj Goswami, Manager - Programming, Shringar Cinemas.
According to Neeraj, the programming team initially had reservations about how well a 10 a.m. show would work with the audiences. "We even debated on the idea and considered various prices structures until we arrived at the figure of Rs. 30," he recalls.
It was with the release of JISM that they introduced the concept and there has been no looking back ever since. "The concept has been a huge success, especially among the college crowd who throng the theatres in great numbers."
So overwhelming is the response that on one particular day, they played JISM on two screens and three screens the very next morning. "We decided to circulate the same print for all the three screens. Also, since we have a computerised ticketing infrastructure, we can print tickets for any show time we desire," he says.
'ARMAAN' CALENDAR: TALK OF THE TOWN
Talking about marketing, it does take a lot of innovation and creativity to make people stand up and take notice. Like Dinesh Gandhi, who, with the help of his favorite designer duo of Atmanand and Vivek, recently released a calendar of his ambitious project ARMAAN.
The calendar, which is a collector's item, has pictures of the characters of ARMAAN, right from Amitabh Bachchan to Anil Kapoor, Preity Zinta and Gracy Singh and the various relationships that have been woven around them. "We wanted it to be unique and yet make a statement about the film in its own subtle way and we are told that it has worked wonders in the trade," says Vivek of Studio Link.
In fact, going by reports, the calendar and the film have both become the talk of the trade ever since. The overseas territory and the music rights of the film were recently sold at an impressive price, while distributors and exhibitors have been calling up from places to express their interest in the film. Says Mukesh Desai of T-Series, "We heard the music of the film and then we saw the calendar, which spoke volumes about the film. It definitely made an impression and we went ahead and bought the music rights."