The past few weeks witnessed a sharp drop in the box-office collections of some recently released films, with a majority of them getting a mediocre response at the box-office with some even going unnoticed. A section of distributors and exhibitors opine that it is the IPL matches that have played spoilsport with the audiences totally tuned into the game of cricket. Was it the IPL fever that proved to be a deterrent to the box-office response to these films? A section of producers, distributors and exhibitors voice their opinion.

By Manishaa R

T.P. Aggarwal- F.F.I and IMPPA President, Producer and Publisher
I don’t think the less than average response to these films had anything to do with the cricket matches. The obsession for cricket is a thing of the past. The reason why some of these films did not click at the box-office was the lack of a proper marketing and release strategy, besides content that simply did not excite the audiences. Filmmakers are so taken up with their subjects that they fail to decipher what the audiences want to see on screen. Apart from that, it is the soaring temperatures and the torrid summer heat that is preventing people from going outside to catch up on films.
Akshaye Rathi – (Strategic marketing consultant, Buddha In a Traffic Jam) :  
The below average response to some of these films has everything to do with their admission rates and pricing, more than the IPL matches. For instance, Buddha In A Traffic Jam was primarily targeted at the college going students and the youth. For a college going student who gets a pocket money of Rs 5000-10,000 a month, spending Rs 500 for watching the movie on a multiplex screen, exclusive of popcorn is definitely not worth it. Even a film like Traffic for that matter, was a very well-made film but we need to have differential pricing for such movies. If the admission rates of a film featuring Jimmy Shergill and Manoj Bajpai are the same as the price of a ticket for a SRK or Salman starrer, it won’t work. You cannot have the same pricing for L’Oreal shampoo and Head and Shoulders. On the contrary, some of the audiences instead of catching up these movies at a theatre, believe in resorting to piracy where neither the government, producer, distributor or exhibitor benefits from it

Balkrishna Shroff: (Released Traffic on behalf of 20th century Fox) :
It is a lame excuse to attribute a film’s failure to the IPL matches. From what I know, the IPL matches have a zero effect on the box-office. Besides IPL matches are normally held after 8 p.m in the evening and not all the people are interested in watching all the matches. Even otherwise, the audiences can always catch up on a film, depending on the day when the finals and semi-finals are held. As for Traffic, we were not disappointed with the business of the film, for the kind of cinema it was. As a matter of fact, those who want to see a movie will invariably watch it irrespective of when it is released. On the other hand, if the audience is not inclined to see a film, it will fall apart even if it is released during Diwali or Eid. The biggest example of a film capturing the box-office is the Marathi hit Sairat, which was released against the IPL matches.

Priti Gupta (Producer-Waiting) :
I don’t think the cricket matches affected the collections per se, it is only a couple of shows that got affected on Friday evening and Sunday evening, particularly in the regions where the participating teams were from. I feel that if your film manages to sustain and make a mark despite the IPL, it certainly deserves to be talked about. When we released Waiting, everyone had their own apprehensions why we chose to release it against the IPL but our numbers have been pretty much encouraging. We got a fairly good response and appreciation for the film. Also at the end of the day, you have to decide whether you have to release your film against 20 other films or take on the opposition of the IPL. We chose the latter.
Ramesh Sippy: (Distributor of Laal Rang and Sarbjit) :
The IPL matches did make a difference to the box-office in the last 3-4 weeks but for most distributors it was the choice of releasing their films against other big films versus releasing their films against the IPL. I guess most of them were reluctant to pitch their films against Housefull 3, which is releasing this week immediately after the IPL matches. Also releasing a film against an IPL match is any day a better bet for films with a medium cast because the matches are held after 8 p.m. Apart from that the steep admission rates in multiplexes are also proving to be a major deterrent for low-budget films.
Sanjay Dalia (President-Programming, Carnival Cinemas) :
I think it was entirely the content and not the IPL matches that was responsible for the lacklustre response to some of these films. There was nothing exciting about the content. Apart from that, audiences hardly follow the IPL matches these days. The excitement was there only in the beginning when these matches actually began a few years back but the game has lost its value today. Also people who were out on vacation are now back and the box-office is likely to look up once again from this week with big films making their way to the theatres. Also this time it was the regional cinema and Hollywood films that captured the box-office.
Sachiin Joshi: (Producer of Veerappan) :
The IPL matches did affect the box-office marginally but they certainly did not impact the response to my film. On the contrary, the collections of my film only improved from the first day to the second and the third day, irrespective of the IPL semi-finals and finals. The film subsequently scored on the basis of good word-of-mouth publicity and has remained steady at the box-office. Having said that, these matches do make a dent on the box-office collections of films, considering that we are a cricket crazy nation and audiences are tuned into cricket. I am sure my collections would have been still been 40 percent more if there was no opposition of the cricket matches. The audience is open to watching good films of any genre or any actor.



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