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‘Midnight’s Children’, ‘Vishwaroop’ post disappointing numbers

Theatre occupancy rates for both the films in the crucial opening weekend was less than 50%
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First Published: Wed, Feb 06 2013. 01 10 AM IST
A still from Midnight’s Children.
A still from Midnight’s Children.
Mumbai: Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, based on Salman Rushdie’s book, and Kamal Haasan’s spy thriller Vishwaroop, have both disappointed trade expectations.
The movies were released on Friday.
Theatre occupancy rates for both the films in the crucial opening weekend was less than 50%, according to theatre chain executives and film trade analysts. On Friday, both movies had around 35% occupancy in theatres, which increased to around 45% on Saturday and Sunday, they said.
“However, the occupancy of Vishwaroop dipped on Monday to around 20% while that of Midnight’s Children is barely 15%,” said an executive at Cinemax India, declining to be identified. Cinemax was recently bought by PVR Ltd.
“The movies are not expected to pick up in ticket sales,” said an executive at Big Cinemas. “It’s a disappointing response.”
In the first three days of release, Midnight’s Children earned less than Rs.1 crore in net collections from the box office, while Vishwaroop, the Hindi version of Haasan’s Tamil movie Vishwaroopam that had been mired in a controversy, earned around a net Rs.7.5 crore, according to the distributors of the two movies.
Midnight’s Children was anticipated to be a metro film but that too has had a damp opening, while Vishwaroop’s subject hasn’t appealed to movie-goers,” said Komal Nahata, a film trade analyst.
Vishwaroop hasn’t delivered as expected. Midnight’s Children has also been below expectations in tier-II towns,” said Rahul Singh, senior vice president, operations, at PVR Ltd.
Midnight’s Children was released across screen 130 screens by PVR Pictures in India, the movie distribution arm of PVR Ltd. Vishwaroop was released by Ekta Kapoor’s film company Balaji Motion Pictures across nearly 1,000 screens.
Haasan’s film, originally slated to release on 25 January, ran into trouble after some Muslim groups objected to certain portions of the film on religious grounds. Consequently, the Tamil Nadu government banned the movie in the state for 15 days. Haasan appealed in the Madras high court against the ban.
On Monday, Haasan said Vishwaroopam, the Tamil version, will be released on 7 February in Tamil Nadu and that he had withdrawn his petition in the high court against the ban.
The announcement came a day after district collectors across Tamil Nadu lifted the ban on the film following a compromise reached on Saturday between Haasan and Muslim outfits, reported PTI.
PTI contributed to this story.
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First Published: Wed, Feb 06 2013. 01 10 AM IST
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