We can breathe easy! JODHAA AKBAR, the first major release of 2008, has fetched impressive numbers at major centres across India, faring exceptionally well in Overseas.
Let's not compare JODHAA AKBAR with either OM SHANTI OM or WELCOME. Here's why…
* The genres are different. OM SHANTI OM tilted more towards comedy, while WELCOME was a non-stop laugh-riot. Both were mass-friendly films. JODHAA AKBAR is a historical and generally speaking, history is not everybody's favorite subject.
* The release period was different. OM SHANTI OM opened during Diwali, while WELCOME was timed during Christmas vacations. JODHAA AKBAR didn't coincide with any festivities.
* In India, OM SHANTI OM was released at multiplexes and single screens at one go. WELCOME had a Friday noon release at multiplexes. JODHAA AKBAR lost out on the Friday booty since UTV and the multiplexes couldn't reach a settlement till Friday night. Resultantly, JODHAA AKBAR opened at several multiplexes across the country on Saturday, but the moviegoer was completely clueless of the development. It was only towards Saturday noon/evening that the multiplexes started reporting better occupancy.
* JODHAA AKBAR didn't release in Rajasthan, thus losing out on a substantial amount.
* While four shows a day were performed at single screens for OM SHANTI OM and WELCOME, in this case, the shows were limited to three shows a day, looking at its excessive length.
Friday was slow, but the business of JODHAA AKBAR showed a big jump on Saturday and Sunday; the film was excellent at all major centres. Even the single screens at smaller centres, which were weak, showed an upward trend. Let's not forget, the major chunk of business comes from bigger centres today, with multiplexes contributing enormously to the booty.
Monday onwards, JODHAA AKBAR has been maintaining 40% to 60% collections at multiplexes and with no major release till March 7 [BLACK & WHITE], the historical will have an open run for another two weeks.
The budget of the film was initially Rs. 37 cr., which shot up to Rs. 40 cr. [Ashutosh Gowariker officially confirmed the figures on my TV show]. Add to it another Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 cr. for print and promotion, which takes the final cost to Rs. 48 - Rs. 50 cr. And that amount is a cakewalk given the business at multiplexes of India, Overseas [fabulous] and also sale of Satellite and Home Video rights. In fact, the film should fetch an astronomical amount from Satellite and Home Video territory.
All said and done, JODHAA AKBAR is, in terms of economics, a success story. Pessimists be damned!