Taking Guard

 

How badly will the upcoming World Cup and IPL tournaments impact the business of cinema in the next few months?

Four years after India’s smashing victory at the ICC World Cup, the mother of all cricketing events returns to audiences in 2015 with great gusto. This time, the series will be held in Australia and New Zealand and will stretch across six weeks, starting February 14. Since cinema is the only other form of entertainment that rules the Indian sub-continent, the film industry could take a beating during the World Cup.

The question is – what kind of impact will the matches have on the films releasing during that time? The films which might take a blow from the cricketing event are Roy, MSG: Messenger Of God, Badlapur, Hey Bro, Dirty Politics, NH10, Tigers, Qissa, Main Aur Charles, Dharam Sankat Mein, Legend Of Michael Mishra, Hunterrr and Dimag Ka Dahi. Many other filmmakers have already postponed their release dates, taking the cricket matches into account.

According to industry experts, the only saving grace is that the matches will be held during the day time, leaving the more prime-time slots free of the matches. The Indian telecast timings of 3:30 am, 9 am and 12 noon for most of the day and day-night matches should not blank out the crucial evening and night shows like the previous World Cup did, experts aver. But they caution that the days when the India matches will be telecast, especially the India-Pakistan matches, will prove fatal for the box office.

Some exhibitors are planning to cash in on the matches by airing them at their cinemas too. Thus once the audience has had their fill of cricket, they might just plan to walk over to adjacent screens to satiate their appetite for films. But, at the end of the day, most industry professionals point out that if a film’s content is good, even cricket matches cannot put the brakes on a film’s growth at the box office.

But cricketing fever this year will extend beyond the World Cup, as the Indian Premeire League (IPL) matches soon follow suit. But taking a cue from the previous years, where the IPL matches were unable to create a huge impact on a film’s release, most filmmakers are nevertheless going ahead with their releases. This week, we ask the film industry what kind of impact the matches will have on films and how the forthcoming IPL season will affect the releases during that time.

 

PV Sunil, CEO, Carnival Cinemas

The matches will definitely impact films because cricket is another major form of entertainment in the country. Thankfully, the matches will be telecast from morning to late afternoon, so the evening and late night shows will not be impacted. Since the family audience prefers to come to the movies during these shows, the film business will be able to sustain. I think a lot of exhibitors have taken into account the impact the matches will have on films, so many cinema owners are planning to reduce their ticket rates during the morning shows. This should encourage movie-goers to watch movies, particularly during the India matches because that’s the time when film business will take the biggest hit.

 

Devang Sampat, Business Head – Strategy, Cinepolis India

I don’t think the matches will have any impact on the films that release during that time. As of now, the India-Pakistan match is what filmmakers should worry about because that match will cause a huge frenzy. But apart from the days when India is scheduled to play, cinemas will see regular business. Of the 45 days, only 7-8 days will be crucial for cricket, barring which films will have their share of regular movie-goers. Movies get a runtime of a week, so even if the opening of the films is affected due to the matches, if the content is strong, the films will be able to draw a decent audience to cinemas regardless of the matches. The IPL has been losing its sheen for the last few years and are in a 20-20 format, so the audience will eventually experience cricket fatigue and step out to watch films.

 

Harsh Jain, Exhibitor, Sanman Groups

I feel that the matches will definitely affect the business, but a bigger impact will occur during the India matches. However, in the past, we have seen many examples where there have been films which have released during the World Cup and the IPL and yet went on to become hits. I still feel if the film is not good, it will not get a good opening regardless of a match or not. But if a film has a very strong content, despite the opening getting impacted because of the matches, the collections will eventually pick up with good word of mouth. Even as far as the IPL matches go, they do affect films, but the cricket matches are not played/telecast all the time, so people generally find time to watch a film or two, if they’re hearing good reports of the film. Rest assured, if the film is good the audience will watch it.

 

Bhushan Kumar, Chairman and MD, T Series

We know that the India Pakistan match can affect our film Roy’s Sunday business, but we have a Valentine’s Day on Saturday which will ensure the youth will go to theatres to watch the film. The losses if any on Feb 15 will be already recovered on February 13 and 14. Post the match on Sunday, the evening shows will see a good business.

 

Vivek Rangachari, Producer, DAR Motion Pictures

The World Cup matches will only have an impact on films during certain important matches. Since the tournament is being played in Australia/New Zealand, and accounting for the time difference, only the morning and in some cases (during day-night matches) afternoon shows will be impacted. I don’t think the evening and night shows will be affected at all. I feel people will have an overdose of cricket by the time the IPL starts, so initially the tournament will not have much impact. Movies will suffer only at the knockout stage.

 

Rahul Puri, MD, Mukta Arts

I do think that there will certainly be days that business will be affected by the World Cup. For instance Sunday’s Indo-Pak game will certainly have an affect till about 4-5pm. Night shows maybe ok. On the whole though there will be enough time during the World Cup for films to sustain side by side. As for IPL, its effect on films has become lesser by the day. Let’s hope we can convince the audience with some good content.

 

Ramesh Taurani, Producer, Tips Industries Ltd

The upcoming cricket season will not impact our films because matches are played throughout the year, whether the IPL or T 20 and so on. The only matches that might affect the film business are the India-Pakistan matches or if India reaches the semi-finals or finals of the World Cup. The IPL created a stir among cricket fans only during the first three seasons; thereafter, they were unable to catch the attention of the film-going audience. So, for instance, last year, 2 States released during the IPL season and the film went on to earn over Rs 100 crore. So if the film is good, even cricket cannot beat its business.

Box Office India
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As on 20th January, 2018
FilmsWeekWeeklyTotal
1921111.22Cr11.22Cr
Mukkabaaz106.48Cr06.48Cr
Kaalakaandi104.93Cr04.93Cr
Wo India Ka Shakespear110.00K10.00K
Udanchhoo207.04K07.04K
Haseena203.65K03.65K
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