By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
with JURASSIC PARK . Later, TITANIC , ANACONDA ,
GODZILLA , THE MUMMY , SPIDER-MAN , SPIDER-MAN 2
, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE  and KING KONG 
posed a threat to Hindi films during their premiere release. In fact,
almost every Hindi film in the orbit got eclipsed by their
This week, something similar occurred when CASINO ROYALE, the new
James Bond film, thrashed its oppositions in the Indian market.
Barring VIVAH, practically all Hindi films, including the three new
releases [REHGUZAR, JANANI, UNNS], were affected by the stupendous
start of the new Bond thriller. I haven't come across a single person
who has disliked the new Bond film. The international press as well as
the Indian media has showered the film with glowing reviews. And the
exuberant praise translated into superb collections all through the
Sony Pictures, the Hollywood studio that has distributed the Bond
film worldwide, has sent a note to this writer about its business in
India, which I want to share with the readers…
CASINO ROYALE opened across 452 screens on 427 prints, to a huge Rs.
14.94 crores at the box-office [17th-19th November]. This phenomenal 3
-day opening has set new benchmarks for foreign films in India:-
* Best opening weekend performance for a foreign film in India,
surpassing SPIDER-MAN 2's Rs. 7.8 crores at the box-office. A whopping
* Largest opening day for any foreign film in India [Friday,
Nov. 17] -- Rs. 4.74 crores.
* Highest single-day collection ever for a foreign film in India
-- Rs. 5.2 crores on Sunday.
* Biggest / Widest ever release for any foreign film in India --
427 prints and 452 screens, shattering the previous record holder,
SPIDER-MAN 2's 327 screens and 304 prints.
* Fastest foreign film in India to cross Rs. 10 crore mark in
just 3 days.
The Hollywood studios have realized that India is a strong market and
dubbing a keenly-looked-forward-to film in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu
versions makes wise business sense. In any case, the investment of the
Hollywood studios is limited to the dubbing and promotion expenses and
if the domestic buyers lap it up [the Indian distributors acquired
CASINO ROYALE for fantastic prices], the studios end up making a cool
profit at the end of the day.
In this case, James Bond ne naam bhi kamaya aur daam bhi. What else
do you want?
THE 'SUN' SHINES AGAIN!
Rajshri and Yash Raj are two production/distribution houses that
command tremendous respect in the industry thanks to their path-
breaking strategies. With VIVAH, Rajshri has bounced back with renewed
vigor. But did they ever falter post MAINE PYAR KIYA? HUM AAPKE HAIN
KOUN continues to be one of the biggest money spinners of Hindi cinema.
HUM SAATH-SAATH HAIN was a big hit too. MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON was
written off, but do people know that Rajshri made a neat profit on this
one too? Goes to prove yet again that what eventually matters are not
hollow praises/star ratings in reviews, but the box-office collections.
And Rajshri's balance sheet continues to be rosy, very rosy!
Yes, HUM PYAR TUMHI SE KAR BAITHE and UUF KYA JAADOO MOHABBAT HAI…!,
both directed by 'outsiders', didn't work. So what? VIVAH, a low cost
enterprise, should rake in whopping profits for the premier production
house. The second week figures are as strong [at some places, better]
than the first week. The film continues to be in great shape
Suraj re, jalte rehna!
THIS WEEK IN 2005
[Weekend: November 18-20, 2005]
Friday, November 18 witnessed the clash of the Khan brothers. The
aggressively-publicized Feroz-Fardeen Khan starrer EK KHILADI EK
HASEENA and Akbar Khan's lavish historical TAJ MAHAL opened on the same
date worldwide, but it was a third film altogether -- HARRY POTTER AND
THE GOBLET OF FIRE -- which opened to a far better response than the
two Hindi films, eclipsing the business of the two Hindi films in many
circuits. In fact, the collections of the dubbed Hindi version were
also far better than those of all Hindi releases, new and old, at
Surprised, aren't you? So was the film industry when they realized
that HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE [rated as the best movie in
the franchise thus far] had embarked on a 90% + start at many screens,
while EK KHILADI EK HASEENA was off to a 25%-30% start and TAJ MAHAL
was around 10%-15%.
THIS WEEK IN 2004
[Weekend: November 19-21, 2004]
With the industry witnessing no major release, the beneficiaries of
an open week were VEER-ZAARA, AITRAAZ and MUGHAL-E-AZAM. Despite mixed
reports, VEER-ZAARA continued to hold sway in the second week. The
matinee shows were affected at some places, but the business, at most
places, was in the range of 85% +, which is exceptional considering the
number of prints in circulation and the exorbitant ticket rates.
MUGHAL-E-AZAM had emerged a success story as well, with the
evergreen epic going from strength to strength. The number of prints in
the second week had been increased, which also indicated the confidence
its distributors had in this classic.
AITRAAZ continued its moderate march with 70% collections at
multiplexes and according to at least two multiplexes, the weekend in
the third week was expected to be strong as well. Moviegoers in metros,
especially the youth, were patronizing the film.