Roundtable : Distributors

Vivek Krishnani (VK): As you said, it’s about educating them. We were talking to somebody and they said, ‘Our film collected so and so numbers in the year 2000 when there were just 400 screens. Now that the number of multiplex screens has increased, collections should double.’ We need to educate them about their film’s potential and who really is their target audience.

AT: I feel it is a turnover game for a corporate house. It depends on how you look at it…

VK: Strategy.

AT: Exactly. So what is your goal, a high turnover or realistic business? This started to happen when the corporate studios entered the business.

NG: Also, the life of films has shrunk. Earlier, films would run for a month but now piracy has hit everybody. You are competing with several people. The life of a film is only the weekend. If you have a big film, you carpet-bomb and go to various centres simultaneously.

AT: It’s unfortunate that experienced producers don’t understand this. If they were to look at the balance sheet or business statement of a distributor, they would have something to reflect on. They have the catalogue, they have past experience to reflect on and, still, they don’t realise.

RA: I think they are aware but don’t accept that this can happen. Basically, since producers go wide and release the film in 4,000 screens, they want the money to come in too. They are aware that adding a screen would cost several thousands more, depending on the screen, but they want to show that their recent film is bigger than their previous release.

AT: I can totally understand if the star cast is big as the film is consumed. But it is disastrous for anything less than the top five-six films.

SK: The 80:20 principle works very well in this industry. In fact, it’s 90:10 – 90 per cent of collections come from those 1,500 screens, not the 4,000-5,000 screens.

Prakhar Joshi (PJ): 600-700 screens.

SK: It’s for the numbers to speak.

NA: With our small films like Badlapur and Tanu Weds Manu Returns, where we concised our release and it just broadened up…

AT: (Cuts in) But Nandu, you are also a producer there, so it becomes relatively easier as your money is on the line. But for a solo distributor, it is difficult because there is a disconnect. There is no investment in terms of production. So, for you, it’s like having larger control but if you have to take up on any film, it is difficult.

NA: There is growing awareness, slowly but surely.

SK: I agree with him that there is growing awareness, because we are giving out facts and figures.

NA: Yes, digital cost reserves, shares…

AT: Control digital costs. You guys are controlling the market but are making no attempt to control digital costs.

NA: Digital costs are now…

AT: It is huge! Nandu, the reason it was introduced was to penetrate everywhere. But look at the numbers; they don’t support the cost of digital. Do something more than just releasing films. Take up these issues as it will save you money too. Money saved is money earned.

SK: That is a very valid point because, internationally, digital costs are coming to a sunset but there is no such law in India.

PJ: There’s Scrabble…

AT: But that is only for studios.

SK: I am talking about the industry at large, not only about Fox.

AT: If giants like you get together, digital costs can be controlled. I mean, a majority of products are with you guys.

NA: No, the majority of products are with you, Anil. (Laughs)

AT: (Laughs) Those products don’t count, numbers-wise. Just one Bajrangi Bhaijaan or PK wipes it out. Unfortunately, the PKs and Bajrangis are not in my destiny.

PJ: No, but you are still at number two. This year, you are number two.

AT: These are only numbers, yaar. At the end of the day, you will get one big film by the year-end and you will be number one again.

Box Office India
Collection Chart
As on 16th December, 2017
FilmsWeekWeeklyTotal
Fukrey Returns146.93CR46.93CR
Sallu Ki Shaadi102.22LK02.22LK
Galti Sirf Tumhari12.29LK2.29LK
Game Over102.97LK02.97LK
Pyar Se Bolo Devaa110.00K10.00K
Firangi276.00LK76.00LK
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