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English releases continue to score over Hindi ones

English releases continue to score over Hindi ones
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First Published: Fri, Jul 17 2009. 12 27 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Jul 17 2009. 12 27 AM IST
Shortkut: The Con is On short-circuited many careers this week, bringing them all to a screeching halt. Actor Anil Kapoor, who has been on a high after Slumdog Millionaire and currently shooting for the cult TV series 24, season 8, failed miserably as a producer with this film. Director Neeraj Vora, who last helmed the successful Phir Hera Pheri, failed to provide any laughs in this film. Anees Bazmi failed as writer after a string of successes last year.
It also appeared that the law of averages finally caught up with Indian Film Co. Ltd (IFC) after its successful run last year with Singh is Kinng and Ghajini. IFC had picked up all rights of Shortkut for Rs32 crore, including print and advertising (P&A). But the film, which released with about 315 prints in 725 cinemas, had to face some terrible reviews and its box-office opening was shockingly poor.
The first week for Shortkut closed at about Rs3.5 crore distributor share and the entire run will wind up at Rs4 crore. The overseas business of the film has been negligible and we expect a massive loss of Rs22-24 crore for IFC on this film.
Sankat City, produced by Moser Baer Entertainment and directed by Pankaj Advani, came up with glowing reviews in the press. But yet again, at a cost of Rs5.75 crore, including P&A, the film was pretty much dead-on-arrival.
The film opened with about 65 prints and in 135 screens. To that extent, it was a judicious release. But besides its high cost, what proved to be the film’s undoing was the fact that it released in a crowded week, which also meant that it did not get adequate number of shows in the cinemas. Its India theatrical business was Rs50 lakh in the first week and should end its run at Rs75 lakh distributor share at best. Moser Baerwill aggressively push its home video sales due to its expertise in that segment, but will end up incurring a loss of about Rs3-4 crore.
Morning Walk, the first co-production venture by Inox Leisure Ltd, released with 65 prints in about 150 cinemas. The film, however, got rejected at the box office. Costing about Rs4 crore, including P&A, it will end up losing most of its investment.
In English movies, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Transformers 2 was released by Paramount Films of India Ltd (PFI) in over 300 screens in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions. The film got disappointing reviews in the press, but as expected, its opening was good, thanks to the contribution made by actors Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox and director Michael Bay, though not necessarily in that order.
Will the magic work: Actor Daniel Radcliffe at the premiere of the new Harry Potter movie in New York. The film releases in India on Friday. Lucas Jackson / Reuters
After a reasonable start, its collections started dropping from Monday. While the first week is expected to close at a distributor share of Rs3 crore, its overall run may just end up at a maximum of Rs4 crore, which, given the film’s hype and stature, would be a disappointment for PFI.
The Proposal, released by UTV-Disney, was a modest, but smart release in this crowded week, with about 25 prints in 45 cinemas in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. It was a welcome return to form by Sandra Bullock and its first week share is expected to be about Rs55 lakh. The film sustained well over the weekdays, ensuring the possibility of a strong second weekend. The Proposal may end up doing a fantastic business of Rs65-70 lakh across its entire run at the box office.
Ice Age 3 continued to enamour family audiences even in the second week. We had estimated a business of Rs1.5 crore for the film, but it looks poised to collect at least Rs2 crore at the box office, thanks to a strong weekend.
The Hangover is another film that is defying logic as its third weekend collections topped those in the first weekend. It is turning out to be one of the biggest English film releases of the year. Against our last estimate of its business at Rs80 lakh, The Hangover may well cross the Rs1 crore mark.
Finally, some good and bad news. One of the points of settlement between the producers and multiplexes was that if any film exceeded net collections of Rs17.5 crore in the top six multiplex chains of India, it will be eligible for an additional 2.5% share in the first and second weeks. The good news is Yash Raj Films’ New York became the first film to cross that magic figure after its third weekend run.
The bad news is of course for multiplex owners having to share this additional 2.5% in the first two weeks in these times, when most films are not performing at the box office at all.
The films being released on Friday are Mukesh Bhatt’s Jashn and Warner Bros’ Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Ashish Saksena is an executive with extensive experience in India’s entertainment sector and was previously CEO of PVR Pictures. His column looks at the business side of Bollywood releases.
Respond to his column at boxtruths@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jul 17 2009. 12 27 AM IST