As we all know, gone are the days when films celebrated golden and silver jubilees, and of films travelling to smaller centers weeks, if not months, after their release in the major ones.
A major reason for the shortening shelf life of films is the sheer numbers of films releasing every week – yesterday saw four new films hitting the marquee, following up on three releases last Friday. And, mind you, we are talking only Hindi films here, not international or regional language releases. Thus, the trend has shifted inexorably to compensate for the ever-reducing length of a film’s life by expanding its width – meaning the number of cinemas and screens it releases in.
To understand how far we have come, let’s take a look at the approximate number of screens some landmark films of yesteryear were released in:
*Including Pakistan and Bangladesh
Now take a look at the table below which lists the Top 5 films (in terms of domestic collections) in the last few years and the number of screens these films were released in.
The trend that emerges from the above table – of release strategies getting wider every year – becomes even clearer when we look at the macro picture as summarised in the table below:
The data above shows not only a clear (and growing) trend in the number of screens our films are now released in; what is also remarkable is the very high degree of correlation between the increase in the number of screens and the increase in collections. Clearly, it’s width rather than length that matters today… and we are not being naughty here!