Ram Setu, Thank God: Are Diwali releases set to create magic at the box office?
Given how last two years slowed down things duo to Covid outbreak, this festive season becomes all the more crucial for stakeholders to cover up the losses.
As cinema halls gear up for festive releases around Diwali, everyone including the fraternity and audiences, have their eyes on the box office expecting some fireworks. With big-ticket films such as Ram Setu and Thank God lined-up for release, industry experts are hoping that these films would help cash registers ringing and bring audiences back in theatres in big numbers considering how festive releases always have had a hype about them. Also, given how last two years slowed down things duo to Covid outbreak, this festive season becomes all the more crucial for stakeholders to cover up the losses.
Even though Sooryavanshi did attract huge footfall as a Diwali release last year, trade analyst Taran Adarsh feels this year is going to be even great because all restrictions have been lifted for cinema goers.
“People will definitely go to theatres to watch the films and both these projects -- Akshay Kumar’s Ram Setu and Ajay Devgn’s Thank God look promising. In fact, last year, there was only 50 percent occupancy due to Covid protocols, yet Sooryavanshi managed to open at ₹26 crores. This time, the footfall will definitely be better than last year,” says Adarsh.
While some look at this clash of biggies as a disadvantage for theatre owners as footfalls get divided, trade expert Atul Mohan opines that audiences have now gotten used to this phenomenon of multiple releases on Diwali.
“Since the 70s, Diwali has been reserved for the biggest films of the year and that’s why, several good movies release on the same day. I remember, in 2005, five films had their premiere on the same day. Despite releasing simultaneously, all of them performed decently well at the box office,” he shares, before pointing at people’s spending habits during festivities, which is a plus for movie business.
“Diwali is the time when people are very generous about spending money, however, situation might have changed slightly. Several people lost their job during Covid, lot of financial insecurities surrounded them and on top of that, everything became expensive. It may or may not reflect at the box office but let’s hope these films can draw a decent number audiences to the big screen,” hopes Mohan.
Having high hopes from 2022 Diwali releases, film critic and trade analyst Joginder Tuteja indicates that the genre of both these films is an added advantage.
“Ajay’s comedies have done really well on Diwali. If you look at Golmaal, All The Best or any other comedy film he releases in festive month, they have had great collections. The reason is, people want to watch light-hearted films and enjoy their time. As for Ram Setu, it has great potential to perform well in B and C centres (A as well) because the religious sentiments come into play. What better movie to watch on Diwali than something that has a religious significance,” he elaborates.
From the business viewpoint, Tuteja feels that if Brahmastra can take an opening of ₹30 crore on a non-holiday, Ram Setu and Thank God can definitely expert great response being holiday releases. “A minimum of ₹30 crore combined collection can be expected on Day one,” he says.
Given the financial situation, many also suggests selling tickets for both the mega projects at popular rates beginning at ₹200 rather than blockbuster rates of ₹300. “When the ticket prices were slashed, people did go to theatres. So, it’s not like they don’t want to watch the film, but the prices are very high,” notes Mohan.
However, producer Ramesh Taurani differs on the idea of slashing the prices of tickets on Diwali, as he reasons both are high budget films and makers need to recover the cost. “But I don’t see it as a problem. I think Tuesdays and Thursdays have lowe/r ticket prices and since this has been happening for many years now, people are well aware. So,people will go to theatres irrespective,” he asserts, adding predicting ₹40-45 crore collection in the first weekend.
That being said, producer Ratan Jain weighs in and says content is all that matters. “Days when Diwali releases had a huge buzz are long gone. With so many entertainment options available today, the film has to be extraordinary with a good appeal to draw people to the theatres,” he feels.