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Let The Good Times Roll

As the industry gets ready to unleash a bunch of potential blockbusters, the question is whether we need to revise the Rs 100-crore benchmark

The film industry is riding a wave of not only new-age cinema but there have been significant changes in the technology, distribution and exhibition space. The cumulative effect of these changing dynamics is a bigger bottom line, which means more business all around.

Now there’s more reason to cheer as the industry is on the brink of the festive season, with a slew of potential blockbusters lined up in the second half of the year. But before we assess the prospects of these movies, let’s do a quick comparison with last year’s box office performance.

The year 2012 was a prosperous one for the Hindi film industry as it virtually rained hits and several Rs 100-crore blockbusters including, Agneepath (Jan), Housefull (April), Rowdy Rathore (June), Bol Bachchan (July), Ek Tha Tiger (August), till Eid. After that, business kept rolling with Barfi! (Sept), Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son Of Sardaar (Nov) and Dabangg 2 (Dec). On the whole, the industry scored nine Rs 100-crore releases last year.

Unlike last year, this year got off to a slow start. Although a number of films like Race 2, Chashme Baddoor, Jolly L.L.B., Aashiqui 2, Kai Po Che, Fukrey, Raanjhanaa and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag did manage to rake in the money at cinemas, only one film – Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – entered the coveted Rs 100-crore club.

But come August and we stand right in the middle of the third quarter of the financial year, and the film industry is all set to fire away a robust arsenal of big budget films like Chennai Express, Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara!, Madras Café, Aman Ki Asha, Satyagraha, Sholay 3D, Zanjeer, Shuddh Desi Romance, Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Besharam, Boss, Krrish 3, Ram Leela, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Bullett Raja, Rambo Rajkumar, Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Highway and Dhoom 3.

Will all these films hit the bull’s eye? This week, we ask distributors and exhibitors for their take on films that will collect Rs 100 crore or even break that record at the box office in the months to come. Over to them.

Pramod Arora, Group President and CEO, PVR Cinemas

This year, business is likely to be 1.2 times that of last year, with Chennai Express kickstarting the brigade of blockbusters, followed by Once Upon…, Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Besharam, Boss, Krrish 3, Ram Leela, Bullett Raja, Rambo Rajkumar and Dhoom 3. The reason these films will do so well is because the number of screens at almost every multiplex has increased. On an average, we have eight screens per property. So despite the great numbers of big releases that are bunched up in the latter part of the year, almost every film will get a decent show time and screens. This, along with the fact that ticket prices have risen, will contribute to greater revenue for these films.

Vishal Anand, Head of Operations and Sales, Fun Cinemas

We have had just one Rs 100-crore film in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani this year, but soon Bhaag Milkha... will join the league. The latter part of the year looks more lucrative for exhibitors since there is a slew of big-budget films lined up. The Rs 100-crore marquee will be enjoyed by Chennai Express, Once Upon…, Besharam and maybe even Satyagraha. But two films – Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 – will be power-packed and sure-shot Rs 200-crore grossers. It is possible for these films to achieve these heights due to digitisation and an increase in screen count.

Rajesh Thadani, Multimedia Combines, Distributor

In the first half of the year, we saw only one Rs 100-crore film in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. But the latter part of the year looks more promising. There are a number of big-budget films lined up and we will witness some major hits too. The front runners for Rs 100-crore benchmark are Chennai Express and Once Upon… . In the later months, films like Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Ram Leela and Rambo Rajkumar have the potential to become hits. Thereafter, Besharam, Boss, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 are likely to be sure-shot winners at the box office.

Sarang Chandak, Shri Rang Films, Distributor

Given the large number of screens across multiplexes, the Rs 100-crore mark is no longer an authentic barometer of performance and success. The trade needs a new benchmark for films. That said, the second half of 2013 is definitely more promising than first. Chennai Express and Once Upon… will shatter records. Satyagraha might also reel in Rs 100 crore. How well Zanjeer performs depends solely on how Ram Charan Teja, who is a South star, will perform in a Hindi film. But this film does have the potential to hit the coveted Rs 100-crore mark. Other films that seem likely to get there are Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Ram Leela, Bullett Raja, Rambo Rajkumar and Highway. Besharam, Boss, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 will surpass expectations and set new standards for the industry!

Ravi Macchar, Sahyog Films, Distributor

With the release of Chennai Express, we are likely to have a blockbuster every week. Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan’s films will probably breach the Rs 100-crore mark. If we are to look at the gross business of films this year, it has been more fruitful than last year because despite just one Rs 100-crore film in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, the smaller films have done way better. This year, the Ramzan period was the best time for exhibitors since most films, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, have done well at the box office.

Vijay Kher, NR Multimedia, Distributor

This year has been a great year for our film industry so far. Even if we have not seen many Rs 100-crore films, many small-budget films have done outstanding business. Compared to last year, this year’s business is much better in terms of return on investment. I also believe that from August 9, we will have a Rs 100-crore film every week, starting with Chennai Express, followed by Once Upon A Time… then Besharam on October 2 and Krrish 3 during Diwali, which will break many records and then Dhoom 3 in December.

Gaurav Ruparel, Girish Pictures, Distributor

The second half of 2013 will be more fruitful than the first half as we have back-to-back blockbusters starting from Eid with Chennai Express, then Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara!, Besharam, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. Apart from these films, there are many other big releases lined up which will also do good business. This year was better than last year as the number of screens has increased with more multiplexes opening. In fact, business should increase every year.

Debashish Dey, Aum Moviez, Distributor

Apart from Race 2 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, all the other big releases are lined up in the second half of the year. So starting from August 9 till December, we will have one Rs 100-crore film a month. In August, there’s Chennai Express, Once Upon… which might reel in Rs 100 crore. Besharam, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 will not just cross Rs 100 crore, they will set a new benchmark. So the good times will roll from Eid. Regardless of crossing Rs 100 crore, we have films like Madras Café, Shuddh Desi Romance, Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Boss, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Bullett Raja, Rambo Rajkumar, Shaadi Ke Side Effects and Highway, which will definitely do very good business.

Harsh Jain, Sanman Group, Distributor

The first three months of the year were not all that great. Murder 3 and Himmatwala were disasters and Race 2 even didn’t make it to the Rs 100-crore club. But small films like Aashiqui 2, Kai Po Che, Fukrey, Raanjhanaa, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Jolly L.L.B. did very well. So we have done more business this year than we did last year. Regarding blockbuster films, the festival season starts with Eid and Chennai Express, followed by Once Upon... and Besharam. Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 will earn more than Rs 150 crore.

Jeetu Khandelwal, Movie Pioneers, Distributor

This year has not been very good for the film industry. The performance of films at the box office has been below average, barring one or two films. We are hoping things will begin to look up with Chennai Express. This is a Shah Rukh Khan film and it will be releasing during Eid. This, coupled with the fact that they postponed the release date to August 9 will do wonders for the film’s business. It will be a Rs 100-crore film.

I am not sure how Once Upon… and Satyagraha will perform since there isn’t much buzz about them in our circuit. Zanjeer, on the other hand, looks promising since films with South heroes usually do well here. Chiranjeevi’s Aaj Ka Goondaraj and Rajnikanth’s Andha Kanoon performed well and so we have high hopes from Zanjeer. Besharam will ride on Ranbir Kapoor’s success and will touch the Rs 100-crore mark, while Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 will create new records at the box office.

Tinku Singh, Group President, SRS Cinemas (SRS Ltd)

The year 2012 was a golden period for the cinema industry as a whole, as there were numerous good movies breaking into the Rs 100-crore club. The first part of 2012 (January to July) had about 34 releases and consolidating, earned Rs 1,204 crore approximately, with four movies crossing the Rs 100-crore mark, whereas 2013 with 44 releases (January to July period) collected Rs 1,411 crore approximately (around six movies are still running and encashing more revenues) with only two movies raking in Rs 100 crore. No doubt this year we have not been able to cross the Rs 100-crore club often, but the overall numbers have been good enough, considering the increased content flow and the diverse genres.

The second half (August to December 2013) looks more promising as upcoming releases, such as Chennai Express, Besharam, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 are sure to cross the Rs 100-crore club. Moreover, other hugely-anticipated flicks such as Once Upon..., Satyagrah, Boss, Grand Masti, Ram Leela, Bullett Raja, Rambo Rajkumar and others will take the overall collection beyond Rs 1,369 crore approximately (the overall collection from 27 releases between August and December 2012).

Rajesh Singh, Glitz, Exhibitor

In pure business terms, this year has been better than last year and is up by 10-20 per cent. Last year was more about Rs 100-crore films but this year, films made on a budget of even Rs 20 crore have earned around Rs 50-60 crore. So business-wise, this year has been very fruitful.

Talking about blockbusters, we will see back-to-back releases starting with Chennai Express, which I believe will earn Rs 120 crore followed by Once Upon… which might earn Rs 100 crore. Besharam will also do business of around Rs 120 crore. Krrish 3 will set a new benchmark of ` 200 crore and we are hoping it will break the 3 Idiots record. At the year-end, Dhoom 3 is likely to break Krrish 3’s record.

Prem Lakhani, Raj Hans, Exhibitor

The flow of quality films is greater this year. Sure, we haven’t had many blockbusters but we’ve had more super-hit films this year. And if we look at the business prospects, they have risen almost by 20 per cent. This year, we had films like Aashiqui 2, Raanjhanaa, Fukrey, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Kai Po Che doing extremely good business. Moreover, the real blockbusters are lined up starting with Eid, with Chennai Express, then Besharam, Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. All four films will cross the Rs 100-crore benchmark in their very first week. Then we have Once Upon… and Boss, which will hit Rs 100 crore each, over a period of time.

Brijesh Tandon, HK Tandon & Company, Distributor

2013 has been one of the best years for the film industry. Though the initial three months of the year were not good and films like Race 2 couldn’t touch Rs 100-crore mark. Himmatwala too turned out to be a disaster. Even the second quarter had many flops but the small budget films like Kai Po Che, Aashiqui 2 , Special 26, Raanjhanaa, Fukrey, Chashme Buddoor, Jolly L.L.B. and the recently released Bhaag Milkha Bhaag did extremely well. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was the only winner so far but, I believe Chennai Express followed by Once Upon… and Besharam will surely make around Rs 120 crore. Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 will collect Rs 200 crore undoubtedly. Almost every week there will be a big release so you never know which one will hit the jackpot.

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