Nine Friday releases fall flat at box office

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By Hindustan Times

After a dry spell, nine highly awaited movies hit theatres last Friday. Six Hindi and three English films released — Shor In The City, Chalo Dilli, [email protected], I Am, Men Will Be Men and Queens from Bollywood, and Thor (also in 3D), Source Code and Limitless from Hollywood. And according to trade pundits, they all flopped.

Komal Nahta, analyst and editor of trade weekly, Film Information, maintains that the ongoing IPL has nothing to do with them bombing at the box-office. Lara Dutta, who ventured into production with husband Mahesh Bhupathi can take consolation that her film, Chalo Dilli fared the best, averaging at 30-35 per cent through the week. Critical acclaim not withstanding, he says that the Balaji production, Shor In The City, saw an aggregate occupancy of 15-20 per cent.

“Shor… is good to watch, but people look for entertainment and commercial value. Apart from his accented diction, Sendhil Ramamurthy’s track was lost for the masses,” Nahta explains, “Chalo Dilli seemed so stretched that you wonder why Lara’s character didn’t call her husband in the beginning itself.”

Rahul Singh, senior VP, PVR Cinemas, didn’t expect the major movies to be hits. Attributing the low occupancy to the content, he says, “The subjects were city centric, so the masses didn’t venture into theatres. Only [email protected] fared better in the single screens.” Ditto for the Hollywood imports, as he pegs the average to about 30 per cent occupancy throughout the week. “But that’s in lesser screens and comparatively lesser shows,” he points out.

However, there seems to be no respite for business until Salman Khan’s Ready releases on June 3. For now, Amod Mehra, another trade analyst, is looking forward to Fast And The Furious 5. “Even though it’s an action film, it’s devoid of any gore. One can put all the money on it as it has done bumper business abroad,” he says.

That’s some consolation for Manoj Desai, executive director at Maratha Mandir and G7 Cineplex. Apart from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), which is still running to full houses at Maratha Mandir, he expresses disappointment with last Friday’s releases. “Apart from Vikram Bhatt’s Haunted (3D), I’ll be showing the Hindi dubbed version of Fast And The Furious 5 as the reports are good,” he shrugs, adding, “Otherwise, Salman’s Ready is the next big hope.”

Box office brief
Chalo Dilli averaged 30 - 35 per cent, while Shor In The City averaged 20-odd per cent over the weekend.

[email protected] averages 30 -35 per cent in single screens. But that’s not enough, say tradesmiths.

Of the English releases, only Source Code topped Thor and Limitless.