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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Bollywood advance booking

Shalvi Mangaokar , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 17, 2013
First Published: 14:53 IST(17/9/2013) | Last Updated: 16:11 IST(17/9/2013)

The rupee may stumble, the sensex might drop, but there is no stopping the Bollywood rollercoaster. Even as other industries fight just to keep the ship steady, the commercial Hindi film business notches up higher and more staggering box-office figures. And a lot of the big grossers release strategically, with the holiday calendar in mind, when the average Indian is looking to take the entire family out and splurge at the movies.

The 2014 calendar
Pre-order next year’s calendar if you’re a Bollywood film buff. Some of the biggest players — stars like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan, among others — have already blocked the release dates of their films. Surprise, surprise, they are all lined up for major holidays. And looking at the success of 2013 holiday releases, such as Chennai Express (Eid release) and Special 26 (Republic Day weekend), the advance bookings seem like a safe bet.

What the trade says
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “Producers have started realising the importance of holidays. This is when people go out with their families and are willing to spend a bit of money. Naturally, the revenues are higher.” In fact, trade expert Amod Mehra reckons that a big release has become “more important than even the process of making the film”. He adds, “In Hollywood, filmmakers have been doing this for a while. The concept of a Friday release is slowly fading as, even if there’s a big holiday mid-week, people will step out.”

Building hype
Experts also say that announcing release dates in advance helps generate buzz. It lets production houses chalk out their promotional strategies. Film exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi says, “The first three days’ business for a film is extremely crucial…because a huge chunk of its overall business happens then. To ensure that a film starts off well, choosing a holiday is a good idea.” It’s no surprise then that the big-ticket movies for 2014 have blocked their release dates. From the audience’s point of view, let’s just hope it also helps producers plan ahead and avoid the ugly fights that tend to happen when big films clash.

Mark the dates
January 24 (Republic Day weekend)

Mental
Salman Khan

May 1 (May Day/ Maharashtra Day)
It’s Entertainment - Akshay Kumar

August 15 (Independence Day)
Badtameez Dil - Emraan Hashmi, Kareena Kapoor
Gabbar - Akshay Kumar
Singham 2 - Ajay Devgn
Kabir Khan’s untitled next - Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif 

July 27  (Eid)
Kick - Salman Khan

October 2  (Gandhi Jayanti)
Bang Bang  - Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif 

Diwali (Date not yet announced)
Happy New Year - SRK, Deepika Padukone 

December 25 (Christmas)
Bombay Velvet - Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma

(All release dates are subject to change.)

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