Absence of box office figures puzzle makers over their film’s business and fate
Directors Shonali Bose, Krishna DK, Madhur Bhandarkar and Kunal Kohli says that now they are dependent on word of mouth and social media to understand the buzz around a project.Updated: Oct 15, 2020, 14:02 IST
While theatres are finally allowed to reopen in several states, it would still take some more time for filmmakers to release fresh films on the big screen. Meanwhile, several projects have already taken the direct-to-OTT route in the last seven months. Though most actors are happy that web has in a way ‘democratised’ the movie watching experience, the absence of the box office figures have left filmmakers in ambiguity, as they’re unable to gauge the success or failure of their films.
“True, it’s very inconclusive right now,” says filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, adding that even if theatres have now opened, it’s tough to say how many people will people can watch a film at a time.
“Not everyone would rush to theatres immediately once they reopen. Till all these concerns are sorted, it’s difficult to understand how a film has fared box-office wise, because OTT platforms don’t share their data, although, they do have a way of determining how well a particular film or show has done,” he adds.
Bhandarkar feels that going forward, it’s only word of mouth and social media comments and messages are the only indications that would help filmmakers understand the audience’s response to a release.
“You get messages from friends and acquaintances saying whether they have liked a film or series or not, and accordingly give recommendations. Also, people have been sharing their reviews on social media,” opines the filmmaker.
Filmmaker Krishna DK asserts that an understanding of how a film has done is much needed for the makers.
“What I never liked is the way someone would say the film was good, but then it didn’t make money. At the same time, these box office figures do give you an understanding of how many people might have watched the film,” he explains.
However, DK shares that directors and producers do get an idea of how their content has done even when it has released on web platforms.
“Studios and OTTs mostly don’t reveal data, but, they do tell us if it’s being viewed by many or if it’s doing well. So while 100-200 crores numbers are missing, we’ve to make do with this for now and depend on social media reactions,” he says, adding it’s good that all films are getting equal exposure and hits and flops aren’t governed by numbers.
Echoing similar sentiments, filmmaker Kunal Kohli is hopeful that soon the web platforms will come out with a system to comprehend the fate of a film.
“We can get an idea of how a film did on the platforms as they mention it under their most watched category. Also, we saw the kind of reactions and reviews the last released films received on social media. Yes, I do wish more accurate numbers were there, but till that happens this system also works,” he elaborates.
Trade expert Taran Adarsh feels that box office would give a clear idea of whether a film is a hit or flop.
“There’s an ambiguity even in understanding if the film or a show or series have made or recovered the money. The OTT platforms don’t reveal numbers internationally as well. They only have this trending movies and shows sections. But right now, we can’t question much given that it’s difficult times,” he opines.
Filmmaker Shonali Bose, however, thinks differently and welcomes this ambiguity, as according to her, the buzz around a movie and audience reaction to it, should be the ultimate factor.
“There are many small budget, serious and complicated films devoid of the typical song-dance formula, but are high on content and even if they don’t do well at the box office, many people like them. And they do decent business too,” she reasons, adding that one should learn from this phase.
“Even when theatres are reopening now, there shouldn’t be any propaganda on the basis of business luring people to watch a film, rather people should watch and decide for themselves. So, I completely support this ambiguity and is super thrilled about it,” she says.
Follow @htshowbiz for more
Author tweets @Shreya_MJ