After many weeks, pleased instances are again for the Tamil movie business. Footfalls throughout theatres in Tamil Nadu through the Pongal vacation weekend have been up and inspiring. Rajinikanth’s Darbar has completed properly and his son-in-law Dhanush’s Pattas did respectable enterprise on the Tamil Nadu box-office. Each movies bought combined critiques from critics and followers, however loved a dream run through the five-day Pongal vacation weekend. Nevertheless, the hard-to-please commerce was sad that the primary week gross of each movies mixed wouldn’t be wherever close to final yr’s Pongal winners: Ajith’s Viswasam and Rajinikanth’s Petta.
Is Tamil cinema enterprise largely turning into competition centric? The favored Chennai single-screen Kasi Theatre MD Subramaniam says, “To a big extent, enterprise booms through the competition season, which brings the followers of huge stars and household audiences in droves throughout Tamil Nadu. Final Pongal, Rajini sir’s Petta and Ajith sir’s Viswasam launched on the identical day and each movies went on to change into huge hits because the content material clicked with audiences. This yr, nevertheless, the content material of each Pongal movies haven’t lived as much as expectations, however footfalls have been excellent if you evaluate with December 2019.” Theatre reserving app Guide My Present created historical past throughout India, when it offered 2.1 million film tickets for a single day (January 12) for numerous new releases in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
Summer season particular
A number one producer feels ‘festival holiday’ releases work finest when two robust big-hero movies overtly conflict and launch on the identical day just like the Viswasam versus Petta battle of 2019. This yr, there was a niche of six days between Darbar and Pattas launch and at no level have been they pitched in opposition to one another. The abroad and remainder of India box-office have been taken by two huge Telugu releases: Mahesh Babu’s Sarileru Neekevvaru and Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. Followers of each the actors went berserk on social media as the 2 movies turned out to be winners.
Theatre homeowners throughout Tamil Nadu usually are not very kicked about February and March, when 25-plus movies are slated for launch. There’s a feeling that followers and household audiences come out in massive numbers solely throughout competition instances. Small movies, irrespective of fine WOM (word-of-mouth), get solely very small screens and restricted reveals, and their share from internet income will get decreased each week as share of theatre will increase.
Now, all eyes are on the Tamil New Yr and summer time of 2020 releases, particularly within the month of April and Could. Vijay’s Grasp has introduced its launch on April 9, for the Easter-Tamil New Yr-Vishu weekend, and all areas have been offered out. The excitement is that Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru could also be pitched in opposition to Grasp or launch every week later. On Could 1, Karthi’s Sultan will conflict with Jayam Ravi’s Bhoomi, whereas for the Eid weekend on Could 22, Vikram’s Cobra is the entrance runner. Sivakarthikeyan’s Physician and Dhanush’s untitled with Karthik Subbaraj are additionally summer time releases.
Bala Subramaniyam, main exhibitor and distributor of Baba Cinemas, Coimbatore, says, “Big changes are happening in the industry. Today, a film with a popular star, good content and festival dates is the best combination. The ancillary industry of online booking via booking apps, canteen sales, theatre advertisements and parking also depends on footfalls and how well the star-driven content works. My Pongal 2020 canteen sales were only 70% of 2019 Pongal sales! I’m looking forward now to summer releases to revive the box-office.”
The business blames ‘poor content’ and the favorite whipping boy ‘OTT platforms’ for this example. Subramaniyam explains, “Even before the opening credits roll, audiences are keenly watching as to which OTT platform has acquired the rights of the film. If the content does not live up to expectation, those who watch early shows tell their friends to wait and watch it on OTT platforms. In the good old days, every big film was shown on satellite television channels only after a year! We should embrace technology and move with the times, but I think Tamil cinema should have a healthy 100 days or a minimum of 60 days between theatrical and OTT release window.”
Kollywood’s finest guess now appears to be gearing up for ‘big festival releases’. The 2020 launch slate clearly signifies conflict of titans throughout all main festivals this yr. Will historical past repeat itself this yr with a potential Ajith (Valimai) versus Rajinikanth (Siva-directed untitled flick) conflict for Deepavali 2020? We’ll know quickly.