The economics of the box-office

T. P. Aggarwal
Publisher/MANAGING Editor
 Exhibitors who were rather wary about the slack business of films in the last few weeks, are looking forward to the weeks ahead with the big star-studded films now being lined up for release notwithstanding the fact that there are only a handful big films, that are releasing between
a stream of low-budget content- driven films. We will have to wait and watch the impact of some of these biggies at the box-office, depending on how they rate in terms of their content and star value. As has been proved in the past, star presence alone cannot assure a film of great box-office prospects; it has to be supported by equally promising content. Apart from that the marketing strategy and the release date makes a big difference. Unfortunately the small producers hardly have the choice of releasing their films on dates that are suitable to them. I am told producers of a number of small films that released in the weeks gone by, chose to release their films against the IPL, because they did not want their films to clash against the big films releasing in June and July. It was a wise decision but it did not pay off for all films, except for a few. The only viable alternative for ensuring that low-budget content driven films get their due at the box-office is a relook at admission rates, which I guess can happen only if multiplex operators work out differential pricing for these films, a point of view which has been expressed by several prdoucers in the recent past. But then there are always exceptions where content driven films despite all the odds drive the audiences crazy like it happened in Neerja, which despite lack of star-value captured the imagination of the viewers at the box-office.

It is the pricing that finally works
It is not just the pricing of admission rates but the pricing of a film that can make a whole difference to its profit model. Unlike the past where distributors would go all out to pitch the films they acquired in the right chain of theatres with a proper marketing strategy, distributors these days are an indifferent lot. In the first place, they are wary of offering big prices for films even with known faces or even if the film boasts of a director with a track record of success. That is simply because they have their own reservations about the marketability of a film. In that respect, I would like to appreciate the recent gesture of a producer-distributor, who has offered to compensate his distributors partially for the losses incurred in a recently released biopic. However for all the reports, I find it amusing why this producer-distributor celebrated the success party of the film, knowing well that it did not perform up to the mark. Anyway I must appreciate the enthusiasm of producers, who put up a brave front and celebrate success parties of films, knowing well that they are at the receiving end.

We should not allow so-called comedians to play with the image of veterans in our industry
While online media has become the order of the day, I am shocked by the manner in which so-called stand-up comedians like Tanmay Bhat are misusing the media. This self-proclaimed comedian’s last roast show got him brick bats but that hasn’t changed his reprehensible attitude towards celebrities. I am appalled at the audacity with which he has targeted the legendary queen of melody, Lata Mangeshkar in his latest video. He has brought disgrace to his profession and deserves to be thoroughly condemned for the disrespectful manner in which he has tried to project the melody queen and cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar. I also condemn some of the younger generations of stars from the industry, who have defended this comedian and taken it light-heartedly. Freedom of expression is all fine, but freedom should not be abused, lest it backfires on you severely some day.


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