Last week had three films with an impressive star cast releasing together— Gulaab Gang, Queen and Total Siyapaa. But, despite the hype of releasing it on women’s day, the Madhuri Dixit Nene-Juhi Chawla starrer, Gulaab Gang and Kangana Ranaut’s Queen brought little cheer to the box-office. All the three films had an extremely dull Friday, but Queen picked up rapidly on Saturday and Sunday, owing to the positive word-of-mouth, thus, faring better than the other two releases.
Despite three Hindi releases, Friday was unexpectedly lukewarm at the box-office, but thanks to the positive word-of-mouth, Queen picked up from Saturday evening onwards. “The business sank to an all-time low last Friday, as three significant films – Gulaab Gang, Queen and Total Siyapaa clashed with each other. The early shows at some screens had to be called off due to lack of audience, while the occupancy at several screens was pathetic. It sent shock waves across the film industry,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh. But he adds that among the three releases, Queen stole the march in the domestic market with its collections escalating rapidly over the weekend.
Trade expert Vinod Mirani has a similar opinion, as he adds, “Queen has grown each day during the weekend and is expected to do steady business as the week progresses. Though the opening day collections of the film were low, with positive word-of-mouth, the collections doubled on Saturday,showing a huge improvement on Sunday to give the film a weekend collection of Rs.10.15 crore nett.” Thus the film, which was made on a modest budget of Rs. 11 crore, may not find it hard to break even. Interestingly, Queen opened in least number of screens as compared to Gulaab Gang and Total Siyapaa, yet did better than the other two.
Madhuri Dixit Nene-Juhi Chawla jodi fails to create magic
Gulaab Gang which released in over 1700 screens fell short of expectations. “Gulaab Gang has done a decent business, but didn’t match up to the kind of footfalls we expected. Even Total Siyapaa which was meant to be a comedy, didn’t do as well as expected,” says Manoj Desai, of G7 multiplex, though the Madhuri Dixit Nene-Juhi Chawla starrer has done well in a few mass-dominated circuits like UP. Gulaab Gang, made under a budget of approximately Rs.30 crore, managed to collect Rs.8.85 crore nett over the weekend, while Total Siyapaa managed to earn Rs.4.09 crore nett. According to exhibitor-distributor Akshay Rathi, “Total Siyapaa has lived up to its title at the box-office. Queen has done well in few multiplex properties in the metros and big cities, but fared poorly on a pan-India basis. For instance, on Friday, PVR Goregaon had a show with an occupancy of 70 per cent, and a PVR property in Raipur cancelled a show of Queen because of lack of audience. The film is only performing well at selected multiplexes.”
Competition from 300: Rise Of An Empire
Mayank Shroff, manager, programming and film marketing, Cinepolis, says, “300… took the best opening among all the releases, although Queen took over from Saturday evening onwards. 300..was anyway a successful franchise, so it was expected to do better.” Thus, last week’s Hollywood release gave a tough competition to Hindi releases with almost 90 per cent occupancy over the weekend. Having released in 894 screens, it garnered Rs.19.36 crore gross.
In the March 7-13, 2014 Screen issue, we had predicted that because of the unique pairing of Madhuri Dixit Nene and Juhi Chawla, Gulaab Gang will see an average opening. However, the film opened slightly below-average. Our prediction that the film is meant for a niche audience, and would require engaging content to get the footfalls, especially since it clashes with two light-hearted films, has come true. Meanwhile for Queen, we’d predicted that the film will take a good opening, and will perform well in urban centres. Despite, a slow beginning, the collections have increased rapidly, and the film is doing well in urban centres. For Total Siyapaa, while we predicted that it will get a good response, the film hasn’t been well-received. But like we said, since it’s made on a moderate budget of Rs.10 crore, it may just recover its cost.