As the competition gets tougher, Bollywood filmmakers are vying for larger screen space by releasing their films in the maximum number of screens. "A lot depends upon the budget of the film, the starcast and the director, in deciding the number of screens that film will be releasing in," Mumbai-based film distributor Narendra Hirawat told IANS.
"If the plot of the film is good, star cast is good and audiences are impressed, the film is bound to do wonders, otherwise there are times when we have suffered losses," he added.
Made at a budget of Rs. 150 crore, Shah Rukh Khan's superhero flick RA.One was released in more than 3000 screens, and Salman Khan's blockbuster hit Bodyguard was released in 2,250 screens.
While Delhi Belly released in 1,400 screens, another blockbuster Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) hit 1,800 screens. Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Rockstar has also been released in 2,500 screens and cinema halls are running 14 to 15 shows in a day. Ritesh Sidhwani's Don 2-The Chase Continues may surpass RA.One as an even bigger release during Christmas. The film is slated to release Dec 23.
Describing the change in movie business, Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan says unlike previous years, the fate of the film is now decided in three days.
"The days of running a film for 25 weeks in a theatre are over. Today, the first three days of the film predict its fate at the box office. Even if the reviews of the film are bad, but it has a powerful star cast and is promoted well, then it easily recovers it costs in first three days," Mahajan told IANS.
Mahajan's views could be supported by facts that although Bodyguard and RA.One got mixed reviews the films managed to recover their cost in first three to four days.
Made at an approximate budget of Rs.60 crore, "Bodyguard" released on Eid and earned an estimated Rs. 86 crore in the first four days of its screening. RA.One also recovered its cost by collecting Rs. 170 crore worldwide in the opening weekend. On the other hand, ZNMD was made at the budget of Rs. 55 crore, and, over the weekend the film managed to earn Rs 59 crore. Mahajan also blames piracy for making the competition fierce.
"In days like today, piracy is so prevalent that on the second day of the film's release, one can get hold of the pirated version and download it online as well. Thus the fate of the film relies on first three days," Mahajan added.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh admits that the market of films have opened up and thus filmmakers plan extensive release.
"The market of films has opened up, multiplexes are increasing and filmmakers are increasingly tapping in smaller cities. The business has come down to weekends thus they plan extensive release," Adarsh said, adding digitization of cinema is also contributing towards increasing the number of screens.
(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )