Despite all under whelming expectations, Vivek Oberoi-starrer Prince has managed to rake in the returns for all the ‘hard work’ gone into making this film. Though not from urban metro markets, Kumar Taurani’s big budget film is making the most of the actor’s ‘comeback’ by enthralling audiences in single screen theatres in states like Bihar, Orissa, UP and Assam. It, reportedly, made over 10 crore nett business in its first weekend.
“The film continues to hold on post Monday and Tuesday as well, it’s doing really well,” says Arun Mehra, who distributed the film in Bihar, Assam and Orissa. “It did well on the weekend, with almost a full house at places. But after that everyone was sceptical about its performance on Monday and Tuesday. However, it continues to do well.”
Single screens only
Surendra Pal Singh, another distributor in UP, agrees with Mehra’s claims, but says that the film isn’t doing very well in multiplexes. “Multiplex audiences’ choices seem to have become a little different now, they do not enjoy these films anymore,” he says. To which, Komal Nahata says, “Most markets in the Northern belt enjoy action and music, which is why it’s doing well.” When asked, whether the success of a film like this, for numerous reasons, came as a surprise to the distributors, Mehra says: “I’m not surprised that a film like this has done well. There is a certain class of people who like action films and maybe that’s why the film has worked in those centres. They’ve promoted the film really well in those segments too.”
While some distributors and trade analysts feel that it’s difficult to comment upon on the probability of Prince recovering all its investment, Vivek Oberoi has only made things harder by going on record to say: “I agree, it is an expensive film,” to an online publication. From the distributors’ side, Mehra feels: “You can never say whether they can recover the money or not. Only the producer can make a claim on that aspect. But as far as the distributor is concerned, we are good to go.”
Nahata, meanwhile, feels that for a film like Prince, to recover the money that has been invested, it needs to be an all-India hit. “Including promotions, print etc, they have spent over Rs 50 crore to make this film; they will definitely lose money.”
Not yet a hit
Vinod Mirani, editor of Box Office Magazine and trade analyst feels that the film needs to go a long way before it can come close to be called a hit in the city. “It opened at 70 per cent in single screens in the city and at 30 per cent at multiplexes on the first day, but after day one, it’s all been downhill,” says Mirani, before adding that the reason for the unexpected kick start could be the fact that the last few weeks have been dry in terms of good films. “They have apparently spent some Rs 15 crore on promotional activities, so I guess that has paid off.”
Return of the star?
So, does the partial and fragmented success of this film earn Oberoi some faith and credibility in the film industry? “Definitely. At least it opened well. Unlike many films that came out earlier this year and had to be taken off theatres in three to four days, Prince might actually last a little longer. In UP, Bihar, Orissa and Assam, it should be on for another three to four weeks at least. Of course, a lot of credit must also go to the Tauranis for their music and promotion of the film.”
Other Unexpected HIT films
“For an English film to do so well in so many different segments in India, was as surprising as it could get,” says Arun Mehra.
3 Idiots “Before the film released, most of us were sure of its success, but we never thought it would become such a phenomena,” says Arun Mehra.
Love, Sex aur Dhoka (LSD) “We were not expecting it to do too well, as it was a forward film. But multiplex audiences really seemed to like the content and the music,” says Surendra Pal Singh, a distributor.
Ishqiya “The film came in smoothly, but again, there was not too much buzz about it. But eventually people started coming in to watch it. It worked well for us,” says Surendra Pal Singh, a distributor.