Ever since the ICC World Cup started, the number of Hindi releases has drastically reduced. But Hollywood, it seems, is making the most of this time. While only a handful of Bollywood movies hit theatres over the last one month, about 10 English films saw the light of day in India. However, their performance at the box-office isn’t something to boast about, unlike the Kangna Ranaut-R Madhavan romcom, Tanu Weds Manu, which has done very well.
Anjali Malhotra, PR and Promotions Manager, SPE Films India Pvt Ltd doesn’t see a pattern. “It’s only because we don’t have many Hindi films that it seems different,” she points out, adding that the lack of Bollywood at cinemas has given Hollywood good shows. “The Oscar films were also released to profit from the buzz of the Awards around now.” Ashish Saksena, CEO, Big Cinemas asserts that many films like Green Hornet (3D) and Season Of The Witch performed below expectations. “But Oscar films like The King’s Speech and Black Swan were very well received. Content driven films like The Hole (3D) also did good business,” he says.In the same vein Suniel Wadhwa, head honcho of 52 Weeks Entertainment Inc, says that the Oscar connect did influence the audience to watch films like The Fighter and True Grit. "The audience looks forward to Oscar films. That’s why despite the World Cup, The King’s Speech, Black Swan and The Fighter did well at multiplexes," he says. Though the audience seems to prefer Hindi films, Hollywood too seems to be gaining significance. Saksena attributes this to the release pattern English films follow. "February and March are reserved for Oscar nominations. Then April, May and June, which coincide with the West’s summer, see major blockbusters release," he elaborates.
The response to forthcoming films like Sucker Punch (due on March 25) will depend on how Team India fares in the World Cup quarter finals against Australia on Thursday. Nothing perturbs Wadhwa, not even the IPL Season 4 that starts on April 2: “The audience will be saturated with cricket and will return to theatres.”
Bollywood, meanwhile, seems to have a lot planned for April. Starting with the release of Game and Faltu on April’s first Friday, Thank You will follow the coming week. Saksena feels there is enough mind space for these films to coexist with cricket during the IPL. “Unlike the World Cup, IPL is not blocking seven to eight hours for every match,” he concludes.