Sunday, 15 September 2013

It’s All About Money, Honey! Part-II


Is the 100-crore film a myth and a product of impeccable PR machinery? Or is it a result of a transformation in the economics of the film trade?

A 100 crore film is a dish whose recipe almost any greedy producer or film maker will be eager to learn. It’s a magic trick any magician would be envious to have knowledge of. So what ideally makes a film breach the coveted mark? A number of factors when put together work in its favor.
Photo Courtesy: Internet

The first and foremost trick is the inflated ticket prices. The average ticket cost at a multiplex today is Rs 140-150, compared to Rs 60-65 in single-screen theatres, according to, a film trade portal. Prices at premium chains like Inox and PVR can be as high as Rs 300-350 on weekends (Friday-Sunday), which fetch almost 80% of theatrical revenues garnered by a film. The rest of the business happens during the “lean” Monday-Thursday period. On festive weekends, multiplex operators undertake a 10-15% hike in ticket prices. For 3D films, the rate is even higher. In big cities, single screen theatres, too, have increased ticket prices. For instance, the average ticket price across single screens in south Bombay is Rs 90-100. Hence, your pocket equally has a good enough hand in deciding which movie this weekend should rush ahead in the race.
Photo Courtesy: Internet

Your choice of theatre also matters. Despite high ticket prices, multiplexes have become a preferred choice for cine-goers because of the variety of films on offer, a better viewing experience, food and beverage counters and gaming zones etc. These attractions ensure that audiences keep coming back. Multiplexes have grown phenomenally in the last five years and completely changed the dynamics of the film business. There are close to 1,400 multiplex screens [India has a total of 12,900 screens] which constitute nearly 70-75% of a film’s box-office revenues. These numbers are ever-increasing much like our country’s dwindling wildlife population. By 2015, the number of multiplex screens is estimated to rise to 1,925, according to the FICCI-KPMG report on the Indian Media and Entertainment industry.

The third trick is more suited for people possessing interest in business sensibilities. Talking from the producer’s point of view who put in money and laughs off to the bank after his film receives the ‘good news’. The number of prints with which a film is released also has a role-in- play. Digital Prints and Wider Releases are both correlated. With the adoption of digital technology, more and more screens in India are becoming digitized. Digital prints save costs and can be attained fast. This is allowing producers to have a much wider release of their films with a massive number of prints. For instance, in 1995, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun released with 500 prints which was a landmark then; in 2009, 3 Idiots released with 1,000 prints which were considered a huge number; in 2011, Eros released Ra.One in 3,100 plus screens. This number will only grow and with releases getting wider by the day, sky-high theatrical revenues are becoming a routine of sorts.

Ever wondered why Salman books the Eid release slots years in advance or Aamir prefers Christmas? Most 100-crore films have utilized long weekends and festivals to the fullest, during which audiences drop in huge numbers and a film’s repeat value is high. Producers have often sacrificed a Friday which was once sacrosanct as a release day and tweaked their schedules to make the most of festivals by clubbing them with the traditional three-day weekend. For instance, Bodyguard released on a Wednesday and a five-day weekend surrounding Eid followed; Ek Tha Tiger released on a Tuesday and a six-day weekend with Independence Day and Eid followed; Golmaal 3Ra.One, Son of Sardaar and Jab Tak Hai Jaan released on Diwali which fell in the middle of the week and a lengthy festive weekend followed; Ghajini3 Idiots and Don 2 released on the Christmas week, gaining heavily from the festive spirit and New Years’ holiday. See, how smartly movie releases are timed for their profit! Film critic Komal Nahta concurs, “National holidays like Republic Day, Independence Day and festivals like Diwali and Eid help in surging the box–office collections and if a major star cast and a big banner is involved, it definitely does wonders at the box –office.”
Photo Courtesy: ME!!! ^_^

Today, the business of films has become touch-and-go. The fate of a film is sealed on the opening day itself or at best, on the first week. The biggest of films have a run of only three to four weeks at the theaters as more and more new releases stand in line and eventually push the incumbent out. More releases in lesser time drive the producers to resort to the fore mentioned tricks to recover their bucks in no time. These four basic ingredients when cooked together doles out a guaranteed 100 crore blockbuster. Mind you! Script finds a place much later in the recipe book. As trade analyst Taran Adarsh sums it up, "Practically looking at it, box-office success has nothing to do with the script of a film. The biggest factor for this is the star power, which drives the market. Factors like release date, number of screens, and mass appeal also play an important role in the kind of business of a film does”.

At the end of the day, what scores more? Money or creativity? Stay tuned here to read an insightful debate.
Part III


 P.SAny suggestions for future posts? Feel free to send in your suggestions and requests here or on my e-mail id: . Hope to hear from you soon :) 

No comments:

Post a Comment