Ever since the World Cup began on February 19, no film other than Tanu Weds Manu has clicked at the box-office.
And now that matches can be shown in theatres, the India-Pakistan semi-final clash is set to become the biggest blockbuster of recent times.
Most multiplex executives said the match would earn more than the films released in the past few weeks.
Earlier, only PVR Cinemas had the rights to screen the matches. But after India defeated Australia to reach the semis, other multiplexes have acquired the rights too.
At PVR, tickets have been priced in the Rs 250 to Rs 300 range.
“We opened bookings for large auditoriums [those with a capacity of over 300 people] first. But after the tickets were sold out, we started bookings for other screens too,” said Prakhar Joshi, PVR’s programming head.
He expects that almost all screens will broadcast cricket.
“At our Ahmedabad property, we’re screening the semi-final in all six auditoriums,” he said.
Sharing the enthusiasm was Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax, which is showing the match in 60 screens across India.
“Already, 52 of the screens are sold out. By the time the toss takes place, we expect all 60 to be full,” he said. Cinemax’s tickets range from Rs 150 to Rs 900.
“The high price is for premium seating, where you are served food and wine,” said Punjabi, adding that they could also open additional auditoriums for the semi-final depending on demand.
Komal Nahata, trade analyst and editor of Film Information, said this was good news for theatres.
“More so because March was a terrible month for films,” he said.