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An average quarter

Despite a few small budget, content-driven films doing well at the box office, the first quarter of 2014 (January-March) has been largely disappointing

Mumbai | Updated: April 10, 2014 11:24:37 am
Jai Ho Jai Ho

2014 (January, February, March)

A few surprises coupled with some disappointments – that’s how one can describe the first quarter of 2014 when it comes to films. With few examples, it was proven again that content-driven films have caught the audience’s attention, but most films that released in this period turned out to be average grossers. Over 40 films released till March 31, but only three to four were hits, with the rest falling into the semi-hit, below average and flop categories. Here’s a detailed analysis of how films have fared at the box-office in the first quarter of 2014:

The average performers

Dedh Ishqiya was one of the most anticipated films to release in January, considering it was a sequel to the hit Ishqiya, with Madhuri Dixit Nene as an added attraction. Despite the aggressive marketing, the film didn’t really strike gold, and did a business of only Rs. 25.95 crores at the end of its fourth week. Jai Ho, the Salman Khan starrer, was the only big star film of the first quarter. Despite the film crossing the Rs. 100-crore mark, it wasn’t a very profitable venture for the exhibitors and distributors. “A Rs.100 crore grosser is not necessarily a hit because its take-home is less than 50 per cent of this amount with over half going to towards the exhibitor’s share and a part to the distributor,” says trade expert Vinod Mirani. According to Sanjay Dalia, President, Cinemax India Ltd, apart from Dedh Ishqiya and Jai Ho, Gulaab Gang, Bewakoofiyaan, Total Siyapaa were other films whose business was below expectations. Gulaab Gang saw Madhuri Dixt Nene-Juhi Chawla coming together for the first time, yet, it managed to make Rs.14.30 crore at the end of two weeks, while Bewakoofiyaan despite having an interesting cast of Sonam Kapoor and Ayusmann Khurrana garnered only Rs. 14 crore. Total Siyapaa’s performance was dismal with Rs. 6.35 crores at the end of two weeks. There were also other films which despite good reviews and positive word-of-mouth didn’t do well, Ankhon Dekhi being the best example.
On the other hand Dishkiyaoon, O Teri, and Youngistaan, completely failed to make a mark with the collective business of all three films being Rs. 13.75 crores in one week. Manoj Desai of G7, expresses his disappointment as he says, “In the past three months, most films have been disappointing for us. The rates at my theatres, are the lowest with tickets priced at Rs.70 and Rs. 90, still so many films haven’t done well. If that’s the condition at my cinemas, I wonder what the situation must have been at theatres with ticket prices of Rs. 250-300 and above.”

The money-spinners!

While largely, the first quarter hasn’t been very encouraging, there have been quite a few surprises in terms of small, content-driven films making money. The Kangana Ranaut starrer Queen occupies the top slot in this category. In fact, Divya Khosla Kumar’s debut directorial venture Yaariyaan, which released with Dedh Ishqiya, managed to do better than it, despite having a whole lot of newcomers. “Yaariyaan did a reasonable business mainly because of its music,” adds Mirani. The film managed to make Rs. 32.65 crore at the end of its fourth week. As far as Queen is concerned, the second week business of the film, was more than its first week. Made on a budget of Rs.11 crore, the film made about Rs. 54.1 crore at the end of its fourth week. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “The surprise package was obviously Queen, which raked in incredible collections, despite an unenthusiastic start. Yaariyaan, Gunday, and Ragini MMS 2 also brought abundant cheer. Although diverse subjects, the common thing was the hummable music that acted as the icing on the cake and ensured a robust start. Besides these, Hasee Toh Phasee, Highway and Shaadi Ke Side Effects, found their share of audience at urban theatres.”
But, even Shaadi Ke Side Effects with its lead pair of Farhan Akhtar and
Vidya Balan, didn’t bring in the kind of business that was expected. As per trade experts, and distributors-exhibitors, only Gunday, Yaariyaan, Queen, and Ragini MMS 2 can be called hits, as far as the first quarter is concerned. Dalia adds, “While Jai Ho is the highest grosser so far, the films which have been profitable, and stole the show are Gunday and Queen.”

Do external factors matter?

It’s a norm, that usually films don’t perform well during the start of the year, eventhough there have been exceptions. It’s also said that March being the end of the financial year, and factors like exam period, create a dent in the business. But eventually, it’s the content that counts. Adarsh says, “External factors do matter, but if a film has to work, it will work. People look for excuses like these when a film doesn’t work. I agree that external factors like the exam period do bring a slight dent to the business, but if a film is good, it will withstand the opposition, and do well eventually. Like in case of Main Tera Hero, despite the final T20 world cup match, the Sunday business was more than Saturday.” Mirani echoes this opinion and adds, “External factors affect for a day, but if people want to watch a film, they will make up for it, the next day.” So, may be it’s the content of films that counts as most of the films released in the first quarter didn’t have a big star to draw the audience.

The next quarter

With Main Tera Hero doing fairly well, the next quarter (April to June) has begun on a good note. Films like Bhoothnath Returns, 2 States, Heropanti, Holiday – A soldier is never off duty, Villain, Humshakals and more are set to release in this quarter. Everyone is hopeful of a better revenue being generated for this quarter. But then one can never predict as no one knows which film will impress the audience. Let’s wait and watch!

ankita.kanabar@expressindia.com

 

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