Bollywood Business Talk with Taran Adarsh: When will they shake hands?

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By Taran Adarsh Bollywood Hungama News Network

I am feeling miserable. I am upset. This confrontation seems never-ending. The two sides [producers/distributors and multiplexes] meet, they take a step forward, but don't shake hands. The issues are not ironed out yet. Even after one-and-a-half months.

Being a citizen of the largest democracy, I have every right to voice my opinion and I feel that the multiplexes need to re-evaluate and re-examine their stand that producers/distributors should supply prints of their films to all their [multiplex] properties, across the nation, at one go.

I can understand a GHAJINI or a RAB NE BANA DI JODI having an extensive release. Releasing a biggie in every nook and corner of the country is okay. But, hello, what about films like LITTLE ZIZOU, VIDESH, FIRAAQ, GULAAL, 13 B…? Should these films be released in 700 or 1,000 screens? Even a novice would call it unwise.

The fact is, these films should be released at minimal screens in the opening week. Only if the word of mouth is strong, should the print count show an escalation.

It's the distributors' prerogative whether or not to open a centre or keep it for a latter date, definitely not the multiplexes. It's like my neighbour insisting that I send my kid to an 'x' school, when, as a parent, I am keen on sending my baby to a different school. Ridiculous, isn't it? I'd slam the door on my neighbour's face right away, besides giving him a piece of my mind.

Look at how SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, one of the biggest success stories across the globe, was nurtured in America. It's an eye-opener and I hope the think-tank of multiplexes goes through this chart…

Week Screens
1 10
2 32
3 49
4 78
5 169
6 589
7 614
8 612
9 601
10 582
11 1,411
12 1,633
13 1,724
14 1,634
15 2,244
16 2,943
17 2,890
18 2,578
19 2,067
20 840
21 498
22 306
23 212
24 131
25 72
26 41
27 22 [still running]

Fox Searchlight, the American distributors of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, let the film grow with each passing week. They didn't start with 500 or 1,000 screens, right? They nurtured the film so beautifully. It's high time our multiplexes learnt a lesson or two from this shining example.

There was some respite last week. 99 opened to a dull response, but picked up on Saturday and performed quite well on Sunday. The urban junta, especially the youngsters, has liked the film. But there isn't a '99 wave', given the fact that the film has fared well at select properties over the weekend and has tapered from Monday onwards.

But the makers of 99 can look forward to the forthcoming weekend. The coming Friday witnesses just one release [DETECTIVE NAANI] and that's hardly a major opposition. The producers should pump up the promotion, so that they can reap the benefits in the second weekend. It's now or never!