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Jhoom Spider-man Jhoom

entertainment Updated: May 10, 2007 13:35 IST
Highlight Story

For Superman and Batman are hot. Ditto Krrish. But it is Spider-Man who has vroomed away with the biggest bucks in the Indian movie market. Spider-Man 3 has drawn phenomenal ticket sales.. much bigger than any Hindi film released in the last six months.

Dhoom 2 was the last film in recent memory which evoked such a stand-out response.. it was released in November last year. Nothing else matched up..till Spidey 3

This twist in the Bollywood versus Hollywood plot comes at a point when the Bombay movies are collapsing like the proverbial house of cards. Even star-packed ones like Salaam-e-Ishq and Ta Ra Rum Pum – couldn’t command “house full” screenings over the first weekend of their release.

And now, here’s Spider-Man 3 shattering box-office records in terms of the first weekend collections..and it’s still going strong. Breaking records. Evidently Spider-Man is boss with family audiences. According to statistics available, when SpiderMan 2 released in India three years ago, it took in approximately Rs 35 crore. The third-parter, which released five days ago, is estimated to gross at least Rs 65 crore. To date, Titanic (1998) has been the highest Hollywood earner in India, taking in Rs 55 crore. Now Spider-Man 3 is expected to sail ahead.

<b1>Internationally, the film in the first three days has collected $ 375 million, surpassing the initial craze of The Da Vinci Code last year. In India, the crowds for the dubbed versions of Spider-Man 3 have been huge, affirming he fact that spectaculars draw in audiences irrespective of their language. This has happened earlier in the case of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.

Approximately, 588 prints (English 162, Hindi 261, Tamil 78, Telugu 78, Bhojpuri 6 and Imax 3) of Spider-Man 3 have been released in India. For the first time, Hollywood has gone Bhojpuri.

Although Spider-Man 1 and 2 were hits, Sony Pictures Enter tainment, which has a distribution network in India, sold the rights of the third part of the franchise to domestic distributors. They refuse to disclose the reasons..sources reveal that Sony Pictures couldn’t refuse the ‘tempting’ offer.

Winner takes it all
There were three bidders for Spider-Man 3 – Yashraj Films, UTV and Percept Pictures. And it was Percept Pictures which whistled away with the webbed avenger.

“My competitors must be crying buckets of regret now,” beams Shailendra Singh, managing director of Percept Pictures. According to the trade, Percept Pictures paid an unheard of price but Singh isn’t talking money:

“My competitors thought I was committing suicide by paying a huge amount but we at Percept were sure of the returns.” The English and Hindi versions of Spider-Man 3 were released in Mumbai, Delhi-UP and Punjab, by Percept in association with Adlabs. Says Sunir Kheterpal, COO of Films Distrbution, Adlabs, “We expected a bumper opening. But the ticket sales have surpassed our expectations.” On the opening day, he says, the collections touched almost 100 per cent.

Trade pundits state that

Dhoom 2

was the last film in recent memory which evoked such a stand-out response.. it was released in November last year. Nothing else matched up.. till

Spidey 3.

This year has yielded only one unqualified hit so far: Guru. It had just a decent opening. But the collections were steady after Amitabh Bachchan announced the Abhiash engagement. The general feeling in the trade is that instantly public curiosity was aroused.

Family puller
According to Shailendra Singh, Spidey 3 has scored because this time of the year is perfect for family-oriented entertainment, what with the school vacations on. “James Bond movies are mainly for the adult and youth segment, the Harry Potter movies are for children but Spidey movies are perfect for the entire family.”

Yashraj Films’ Ta Ra Rum Pum, released a week before Spider-Man 3, had tried to appeal to family audiences too, with kids in the cast and a Walt Disneyesque musical sequence..but it drew average collections of 50 per cent on the first day of its release.

<b3>Trade experts have noted that the audiences are going berserk, especially the kids. The film has taken a historic opening in Bihar..the biggest in that state in five decades. Bihar cinegoers are saying, “

Maakad manav aayee gaval hai

”. More prints of the film are expected to be rushed in for the film’s second week.

English language movies are far from hot in West Bengal and Punjab but Spider-Man 3 is doing well even there. Even in smaller towns like Ghaziabad, the Hindi and English versions opened at all the 13 multiplexes with an oustanding opening response.

Hindi moviegoers go for Hollywood movies mainly when they blended with sex and horror, like say Anaconda. Spider-Man 3 debunked that since its Hindi dubbed version has taken an even stronger opening that its original English language version.

Critic speak
Tobey Maguire plays the title role but surprisingly has not become a major craze yet.

On the downside, critics here and abroad have given the film mixed reviews. The grouse is that although the action scenes are spectacular, there aren’t enough of them.

The film directed by Sam Raini wanders towards the dark side of the web man which has led to some sluggish segments in the film’s length of two hours-20 minutes.

Publicised mammothly all over the country for the last three weeks, however, Spider-Man 3 is also a marketing successs and there’s the factor of right timing – for want of any other rival kiddie flick in town, it’s the hottest ticket right now.

vajir.singh@hindustantimes.com
Top five opening weekends (in India)
¦ Spider-Man 3 Rs 19.2 crore, Casino Royale Rs 14.9 crore, Spider-Man 2 Rs 7.8 crore
¦ Superman Returns Rs 6 crore
¦ Spider-Man Rs 5.3 crore

Hollywood’s biggest hits (in India)
¦ Titanic (1998): Rs 55 crore ¦ Casino Royale (2006): Rs 45 crore ¦ Spider-Man 2 (2004): Rs 35 crore ¦ The Mummy (1999): Rs 33 crore ¦ Godzilla (1998) : Rs 28 crore