Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

Bollywood and festivals — a triumphant wedding!

Different people have wide-ranging opinions on what is the ideal recipe for a successful movie: Star power or content?

While it is indubitable that content has the potential to make or break a movie, there is a pervasive conviction within the Film industry that superstars possess the necessary wherewithal to score a success even if the film’s content is weak or modestly shallow in presentation. Stars have the clout and muscle to draw crowds to theatres, many accept this as true. But one would ask, what about Fan – the biggest disappointment of Bollywood in 2016? The Shah Rukh Khan starrer dark thriller was immensely impacted by its non-festival release. Regardless of “star power”, the movie failed to live up to the expectations. Although much of the culpability was laid on its direction; had it been a festival release, the fate of the film could have been different.

Star power is unworkable without the business strategy of releasing movies on festive days – a new drawing card in tinsel town. Be it Khans, Roshan, Devgns or Kumars, the Blue Book of Bollywood reserves festival dates in advance for releasing their films, highlighting the budding significance of celebrated days and weekends in the business of cinema.

Lately, most of the movies being released during the non-festive spell either bombed at the box-office or did poor business vis-à-vis the ones released on festivities. This may be seen as a good reason for stars booking the festival dates much in advance.

A good model of this marketing strategy can be illustrated by the recently released Tubelight. Despite getting panned by critics, Salman Khan’s Tubelight which released on Friday is set to breach the 100 crore club in the first week itself. Even though the film has not been able to rupture the actor’s previously held box-office records, Salman remained unfazed as he quipped in an interview: “The critics were really good. I was expecting minus 3 and minus 4, but they have given 1, 1.5 apparently, so I am very pleased.”

What explains this self-belief teeming to the point of mild haughtiness from the actor? Festivals, holidays, important days, event and observances in India!

Directed by Kabir Khan, Tubelight is an official remake of American War Drama Little Boy released in 2015. Salman essays the character of Laxman, who embarks on a journey to get his brother Bharat (played by Sohail Khan) back from Sino-India war. Built on an unorthodox concept, Tubelight fails to emerge as a cohesive film and rambles along inconsistently with many flaws. Despite copping a lot of flak and experiencing a plunge in numbers at the ticket counter, Tubelight recorded the second highest opening this year and is all set to enter the exalted 100 crore club in its first week — a new barometer of success in the B-town. The credit can be marginally owed to the extended weekend with Ramzan Eid falling on Monday. Few years ago, a lifetime business of 100 crore was an indispensable component of an actor’s cv in order to institute his “salability” – a product of revolution in the money matters of the film commerce. The last 5 years has seen a new benchmark, and that which gets producers and distributors go through with a fine-tooth comb in a challenge to crack the barrier: 100 crore in opening week.

How, just how, did this elusive 100 crore in 1st week become routine over the last 5 years? Though only a scattering of Bollywood movies belong to this elite and vastly aspirational guild, the ballyhoo foregoing the release of every other A-star film has its mention. The word has become rather omnipresent on the lips, from the commoner outside a cinema hall to the spot boy on the sets.

There are numerous factors at play in evaluating the success of a film. Apart from inflated ticket prices, growth of multiplexes, digital print and wider releases, extended weekends and holidays have played a mammoth role in allowing films to make 100 crore in the first week of their release. Festivals are treasured throughout the world, and Bollywood cashes in on such propitious occasions without fail.

Most big-budget producers tap the advantage of long weekends and festivals thoroughly, during which footfalls rain heavily with an additional benefit of films showcasing repeat value. Producers have over and over again relinquished Fridays (which was once upon a time deemed untouchable as a release day) and made alterations to their timetable in order to savor the festivities by collaborating with traditional three-day weekend. For instance, Ek Tha Tiger was released on Tuesday and a six-day weekend with Independence Day and Eid followed. In fact, Salman Khan and Diwali have become a comradeship which means business – business of crores. Festival of Eid became synonymous with Salman Khan after the success of Wanted and Bodyguard followed by Blockbusters like Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan.

 

Jab Tak Hai Jaan entered the cinema halls on Diwali which fell halfway into the week and a protracted festive weekend accompanied. With no Salman Khan film in 2013, Chennai express got a solo release on Eid becoming Shah Rukh Khan;’s highest grossing film. Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan productively appropriated Christmas with his maiden directorial venture Taare Zameen Par followed with AR Murugadoss’ action thriller, Ghajini (2008). There is something enigmatic about the accomplishments of Aamir’s films releasing on the eve of Christmas. In 2013, Aamir was upgraded in Yash Raj’s mega franchise of Dhoom 3 (2013). Dhoom 3 became the first Indian film to cross the 300 crore barrier. It was followed by Raj Kumar Hirani’s PK in 2014 and all time blockbuster of Bollywood Dangal in 2016.

Khans are not the only ones to acquire control of the festive calendar. Even Hrithik Roshan‘s Krrish 3 and Bang Bang released on Diwali whilst Mohenjo Daro and Kaabil lit the silver screen on Independence Day 2016 and Republic Day 2017 respectively. Hrithik’s first 100 crore film Agneepath also released on Republic Day weekend in 2012.

The Khiladi of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar is increasingly getting recognized with Independence Day and Republic Day. ‘Rustom’ enjoyed a wholesale weekend of four days during the Independence Day weekend of August 2016. One of the biggest successes of 2016 was Airlift which released on Republic Day holiday. Kumar’s policy to seize control over these dates is an indication of his emergent influence as a superstar outside the Khan citadel. Kumar’s films also bear a patriotic shade which makes him a winner with the masses as well as the classes. Despite clashing on Diwali, both Ajay Devgn and Ranbir Kapoor emerged victorious at the box office in 2016. Whilst Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay managed to do respectable business, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil clocked the 100 crore mark.

Celebrated weekends have been highly boosted with proliferation of multiplexes. Multiplexes witnessed extraordinary growth in the last five years completely altering the dynamics of the box office industry. India has 2,200 multiplex screens which constitute nearly 80% of a film’s box-office revenues. By 2019, the number of multiplex screens is estimated to rise to 3000.

The standard price of a ticket at a multiplex today is Rs 200-250, compared to Rs 80-100 in single-screen theatres. Size of the ticket at premium chains like PVR and Inox get as high as Rs 300-350 on weekends (Friday-Sunday), yielding almost 80% of a film’s theatrical business. The remaining business comes about during the “lean” phase from Monday – Thursday. On festive and extended weekends, multiplex dealers venture on a 10-15% raise in the prices of tickets. The rate gets further elevated for 3D films. In metropolitan cities, single screen theatres have also augmented ticket prices. Case in point, the regular ticket price across single screens theatres in south Bombay is estimated at Rs 100 to 150. Despite lofty ticket prices, multiplexes have become a favored choice for movie-goers; the variety of films offered, an enhanced viewing experience, gaming zones, food and beverage counters etc guarantee that audiences keep visiting repeatedly.

Here is a table revealing the track record of films released on festivals and other major events on calendar:

Republic Day Independence Day Diwali Eid Christmas
2012 Agneepath

(Super Hit)

Ek Tha Tiger

(Blockbuster)

Jab Tak Hai Jaan

(Hit)

Dabbang 2

(Blockbuster)

2013 Race 2

(Semi Hit)

Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara

(Flop)

Krrish 3

(Blockbuster)

Chennai Express

(Blockbuster)

Dhoom 3

(All Time Blockbuster)

2014 Jai Ho

(Semi Hit)

Singham Returns

(Super Hit)

Bang Bang

(Super Hit)

Kick

(Blockbuster)

PK

(All Time Blockbuster)

2015 Dolly Ki Doli

(Flop)

Brothers

(Flop)

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

(Hit)

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

(All Time Blockbuster)

2016 Airlift

(Superhit)

Rustom

(Superhit)

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

(Hit)

Sultan

(Blockbuster)

Dangal

(All Time Blockbuster)

2017 Raees/Kaabil

(Semi-hit/Hit)

2.0, Golmaal Again, Secret Superstar Tubelight Tiger Zinda Hai

Besides the major festivals, filmmakers also draw moolah on events like Raksha Bandhan and Ganesh Chaturthi. The first half of 2017 saw Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt starrer Badrinath Ki Dulhani, a Holi release, enter the 100 crore club. Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead, will release on August 4th, allowing the film to cash in on a long weekend, as Rakshabandhan falls on August 7.

A cursory glance at the releases of 2018 will give you a perspicuous picture of the power of festival releases:

Republic Day 2018: Akshay Kumar’s Five

Diwali 2018: Aamir and Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Thugs of Hindostan

Christmas 2018: Shah Rukh Khan’s untitled movie

Gone are the days of silver, golden and platinum jubilees on which the success or failure of a film was deeply reliant. Today, a film’s destiny is potted on the opening day or at best, in the first week. The biggest of films run only for three to four weeks in cinema halls before new releases keep knocking at the door and ultimately drive the occupant out and the finest way to exploit the resources and time is by clubbing your product with a festival or celebrated event. Looking at the calendar of 2017 and 2018, it looks like Bollywood has no intentions to do away with this practice anytime soon.



This post first appeared on History Of Tina Ambani, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

Bollywood and festivals — a triumphant wedding!

×

Subscribe to History Of Tina Ambani

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription

×