Action Jackson, the much-anticipated Prabhudheva directed film has not met box-office expectations. Making Ajay Devgn ‘dance’, one of the film’s promotional strategy, obviously did not work. Asserting this, trade analyst Vinod Mirani said, “Action Jackson proved to be one of the worst films content-wise. The opening response was poor for a top star film and so was the Rs.29.1 crore nett for its opening weekend.”
This was in complete contrast to the statement sent by the production house, Eros International & Baba Arts Limited, which stated that the film has garnered Rs. 33.25 crore nett in its opening weekend! Distributor and Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi gave a breakup of the film’s collections. “The film collected Rs.9.7 crore on the opening day, Rs. 7.85 on Saturday and on Sunday, it was Rs. 11.5 crore. In single screens, the film is doing decently as it is a pure masala entertainer but multiplex goers would prefer to give it the miss,” he stated.
Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, however, was of the opinion that Action Jackson provided some relief from a sluggish November. He added that Bhopal : A Prayer for Rain found some audience in the metros as did Sulemani Keeda. Mumbai Delhi Mumbai, on the other hand, was an extremely limited and low profile release and performed accordingly, he pointed out.
Mirani said that while Sulemani Keeda failed to find an audience, Bhopal has collected a symbolic Rs. 70 lakh in its first weekend at the box-office. Rathi, however, has a different take. “If you look at Sulemani Keeda, the number of shows it has across India, is probably equivalent to the number of shows Action Jackson had in Andheri, Mumbai. Even if every show went houseful, the numbers are insignificant. The film is a micro-nano niche film. Had it picked up and done well through word-of-mouth, then it would have released in more screens.” Bhopal, he feels, has a certain kind of audience, which wouldn’t watch a film like Action Jackson and similarly, those who love Action Jackson would not care much about Bhopal.
“The good thing is that the three films are very diverse from each other and cater to different kind of audience,” he pointed out while explaining that Sulemani Keeda is about strugglers, while Bhopal is an intelligent film for the educated audience and Action Jackson is for the masses. So none of them will eat into each other’s business, which is good,” he analysed while adding that the collections for Sulemani Keeda and Bhopal have been under a crore, which is not good.
As far as occupancy is concerned, Action Jackson was at 40 per cent, while last week’s releases Exodus (all formats) saw 42 per cent and Penguins of Madagascar had a 65 percent occupancy. “We expect an increase from next week, with Lingaa and Hobbit (the last of the series) releasing, followed by PK and Night At The Museum 3 during Christmas,” added Dutta.
The week gone by
Referring to films released in the previous weeks, Mirani said, “Ungli has been poor; managing just Rs.14.8 crore in its first week at the box office. Zid collected Rs.5.9 crore for its first week, which is poor, while Zed Plus, a satire on security to VIPs, failed to create ripples and collected a poor Rs.55 lakh in its first week. Happy Ending failed miserably, as the film collected only Rs.12.25 crore in its second week while Chaar Sahibzaade continues to be rock steady. The film added Rs.7.7 crore in its fourth week to take its total to Rs.30.8 crore. Kill Dil has run its course, adding just Rs.30 lakh in its third week taking its three week total to Rs.33.87 crore.”
Dutta feels between Zid, Zed Plus and Ungli, it is Zed Plus and Zid that are out of the cinemas this week, while Ungli has fared below expectations. Of the English films, Exodus: Gods and Kings and This Is Where I Leave You, Exodus had a soft opening but picked up considerably due to the strong word-of-mouth. This is Where I Leave You hasn’t attracted audience as one would expected, due to very low promotions. Added Rathi, “Courtesy the ultra wide release that Action Jackson has got, last week’s releases have been sidelined with only a few shows here and there. So the collections for these films in the second week are next to negligible. As for English films, there is nothing that is doing significantly well right now.”
Small regional films are doing very well in the South. However, all eyes are set on December 12 when the Rajinikant-starrer Lingaa releases. The occupancies for Alaa Elaa (Telugu) was 78 per cent, Vellimoonga (Malayalam) 86 per cent and Love in Mandya (Kannada) 78 percent, stated Dutta, while Rathi said that, of the Marathi films, Happy Journey is doing decently while Elizabeth Ekadashi is slowly and steadily moving ahead.
Dutta is positive that the year 2014 will end on a high, with top films like Lingaa, PK, Night at The Museum 3, and Hobbit. The new year is also set to begin with a bang with Tevar and Taken 3 (IMAX), he said.
Rathi stated that while the release of the Hindi version of Lingaa has been pushed to December 26, the Telugu and Tamil versions of the film will release in the South on December 12, Rajinikant’s birthday. “In Tamil Nadu there are bound to be fireworks. No analysis can be done for a Rajinikant film, he is beyond being a superstar,” asserted Rathi while adding that Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishan will feature in a Marathi film titled Madhyamwarg which is a masala entertainer. “It’s possible that it will get big numbers,” he summed up.