Titanic 3D will release in India a day ahead of Housefull 2 — The Dirty Dozen, hoping to cash in on the Mahavir Jayanti bank holiday, followed by the long three-day weekend. James Cameron’s Oscar winner was the highest grossing Hollywood film in India till Avatar (2009), and re-releasing it after 15 years in four languages, Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios, is bullish about its box-office prospects.
“It’s not so much about numbers as it is about offering a unique cinema experience and the iconic love story, coupled with amazing special effects,” reasons Singh who is targeting two sets of viewers — those who saw it back in 1997 and have a memory connect and the younger generation who were perhaps toddlers then, but drive footfalls today.
But while trade analyst Amod Mehra agrees on the audience profile, he points out that given that it is a re-release, is frequently shown on TV and is available on home video, he doesn’t see it cutting into Housefull 2’s opening. He claims, “It will always be a second choice to a Bollywood biggie, particularly in the B centres (smaller towns).”
Singh, however is expecting business not just from city multiplexes, but smaller centres too, given the mad rush among exhibitors to upgrade to 3D. “Pre-Avatar, there were just 12 3D screens in India. Today, we have picked up 250 screens and expect another 80-100 more by the second week. We’re looking beyond the first weekend to a longer run given that the next 3D release is not for another three weeks,” he says.
Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax India, admits that the initial response hasn’t been strong as compared to Housefull 2 that by Wednesday had 15 per cent block bookings in advances. But he’s confident that strong word-of-mouth publicity can bring in audiences for Titanic too, explaining, “Romance always has repeat purchase and in terms of 3D quality this is one of the best films I’ve seen in recent times.”