3 years ago, predictions were made that after the Covid-19 pandemic, cinemas will be dead and that hardly anyone will spend money to catch a film on the big screen. Exactly a year ago, the cinema business was at its lowest point arguably when Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha and Akshay Kumar-starrer Raksha Bandhan clashed and flopped big time. But the scenario has changed by 180 degrees in 365 days. Thanks to the exceptional performance of Gadar 2, OMG 2, Jailer and also holdover films like Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani and Oppenheimer, the theatres across the country had a record weekend. Bollywood Hungama was one of the first ones to report that On August 13, PVR Inox entertained as many as 12.80 lakh patrons. This is the highest number of footfalls seen by the multiplex chain in its history. In all, it earned Rs. 39.50 crores gross. Between August 11 and August 13, it served 33.60 lakh patrons and earned a gross revenue of more than Rs. 100 crores. Also, as per a statement released by the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), “The weekend drew 2.10+ crore moviegoers to theatres across the country, which is also the highest combined Admissions record in the last 10-year history.”EXCLUSIVE: Kamal Gianchandani talks about RECORD footfalls in multiplexes between August 11-13: “Sunny Deol has bounced back with so much VIGOUR. Akshay Kumar has also reclaimed his status at the box office as a DEPENDABLE star”
On this joyous occasion, Kamal Gianchandani, President, MAI, CEO of PVR Pictures Ltd and Chief Business Planning & Strategy of PVR Ltd spoke exclusively to Bollywood Hungama.
The cinema exhibition has bounced back and how. This is a feat considering the scenario in 2020 and also in 2022 when most films were flopping left, right and centre…
It’s been a tough journey. Everytime people thought that cinemas were out of the game, they bounced back. So, it’s been quite a dramatic story. It’s been tough for those who are a part of the industry. Nevertheless, I am glad it’s all about behind us and we are looking forward to a massive 2023.
Many cynics predicted that post-pandemic, the collections in theatres would nosedive. Instead, we saw Pathaan (2023) emerging as the biggest Hindi hit ever. In Tamil, Ponniyin Selvan – Part 1 (2022), Vikram (2022) and Ponniyin Selvan – Part 2 (2023) were some of the biggest hits of the industry. Carry On Jatta 3 (2023) also became the biggest Punjabi hit ever. Your thoughts?
Yeah, and the diversity of content is also working. But the biggest takeaway from the weekend is that the mainstream commercial Hindi films are doing well. They are still leading the way at the box office. They are playing a dominant part, which is expected of them. Another important takeaway is that actors such as Sunny Deol, who had a fairly modest 6-7 years, has bounced back with so much vigour and force. Mr Akshay Kumar, who struggled at the box office in the last few years, has also reclaimed his status at the box office as a dependable star. All of this augurs really well.
It is often said that there is a demarcation of class and mass audience in cinemas. But with Gadar 2, we saw moviegoers celebrating not just in the single-screen theatres but also in multiplexes. Do you think that for such event films, the line between class and mass audience blurs?
I think this concept of class and mass is a myth. When a film works, it tends to work universally. That’s what we have witnessed with Gadar 2. Be it city cinemas or theatres in smaller towns, they all are doing equally well.
Another interesting analysis is both OMG 2 and Gadar 2 are co-existing so well at the box office. It’s not like Gadar 2 is making it difficult for OMG 2 to put up numbers or vice versa.
And the beautiful aspect is that no one ever imagined both these films will do so well!
Absolutely. 15 days ago, we never thought we'd get to see such performances of both films.
A significant trend that picked up post-pandemic is films skipping a release in cinemas and premiering directly on OTT platforms. Now that it’s clear that cinemas are back, do you feel that this trend should stop?
I believe the feedback from the moviegoers in general is very clear. Cinema is the place to be if you want to have a collective social experience. Having said that, we respect the decision some of our filmmakers and studios have made. We understand where they are coming from. But I think (releasing a film directly on OTT) has to stop now because cinemas are performing at this level. It is in the financial interest of producers and filmmakers to release their films at the cinemas first before they take them to the streaming platforms. Doing so is actually good for the entire ecosystem including the streaming platforms that films release in theatres and then go to streaming or digital. This is because of the level of excitement that we have seen be it Gadar 2 or OMG 2 or Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani or even Jailer or Bhola Shankar for that matter, it is evident that this carnival sort of atmosphere is possible only in cinemas. And the streaming and television premieres will ultimately benefit from marketing and publicity (gained through the film’s performance in cinemas).
On August 13, PVR Inox created a record by serving as many as 12.80 lakh patrons. Tomorrow is a national holiday (August 15; Independence Day). Do you think the record set on August 13 can be broken on August 15?
Yes. I am pretty sure the record will be broken tomorrow!
Which are the upcoming films across languages which can also do quite well in your opinion?
There are some really big films up for release like Jawan, Leo, Tiger 3, Dunki etc. I believe we will have a smashing 2023. The writing is fairly clear on the wall (smiles).
More Pages: Gadar 2 Box Office Collection , Gadar 2 Movie Review
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