To save its box office collections from plunging, Bollywood had stopped releasing new films during the Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons because most viewers would be busy catching up on IPL action either on the small screen or on the grounds and, hence, the cinema halls would mostly go empty.
This year, however, 20 new films, some from big banners such as Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and UTV, are lined up for release in the period that coincides with the seventh season of the IPL. In contrast, only 10 movies were released during IPL-6 and IPL-5, nine in the fourth and the third seasons and only eight during the first season of IPL in 2008.
“During the first two IPL seasons, multiplexes witnessed a drop of around 35-40% in their revenues,” says Rakesh Jariwala, partner, EY.
The biggest release of this year, Rajnikanth-starrer Kochadaiiyaan is set for release on May 9. Produced at a budget of Rs 125 crore, the film will hit the screens when the IPL frenzy is likely to have picked up. Says Ormax Media CEO Shailesh Kapoor: “Today, so many films are vying for a good release date and there are only 52 weeks in a year. So studios have no option but to make the most of each of these weeks. Hence, if in a certain week during the IPL no film is releasing, a producer is sure to lap it up.”
Dharma Productions and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment took a chance when they released their new film 2 States on April 18, two days after the opening of the seventh season of the IPL. Starring Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor, the film was released across more than 2,000 screens in India. The film recouped one-third of its production cost of Rs 35 crore on the opening day itself. It is still running across cinema halls in the country.
The other significant launches lined up for the next few weeks include Kaanchi — The Unbreakable (April 25; budget: Rs 25-30 crore). This romantic drama is being touted as famous director Subhash Ghai’s return to direction after a gap of five years.
Some of the other releases include Revolver Rani, Samrat & Co, Hawaa Hawaai and Heropanti.
Kamal Gianchandani, president, PVR Pictures, notes that when it comes to the developed entertainment economies such as the US and the UK, it can be observed that there are some big-ticket sporting events that take place almost every alternate week.
“The movie industry there has learnt to co-exist with these major events. Similarly, the Indian market too is maturing and our entertainment economy is learning to co-exist with the realities of the fragmented media world,” he said.
Industry estimates suggest that after a setback in 2008 and a lull the following year, the industry began mustering courage