Mumbai: After reports of Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ releasing in a record 9,000 screens in China started doing the rounds, India Today has published a story with very contrasting figures. The report says that China’s biggest multiplex chain Wanda Cinemas is not screening the film in most of its theatres.
Fei Xiaochou, a China-based film writer, posted on his social media, “Is Dangal suffering a boycott by Wanda?”
A visit to the multiplex’ website shows that the theatre chain consists of more than 1, 657 screens across China and, as per industry experts, is expected to reach the 3,000 screens benchmark. Wanda, a leader in IMAX screens as well, accounted for close to one-sixth of the total Box Office collection with a staggering $950 million in 2015.
The report claims that ‘Dangal’ is shown in only 37 screens, which is about 1 percent of the total screens. In the city of Beijing, only 3 shows of the film are being screened in Wanda theatres. The scenario will get worse from tomorrow as ‘Dangal’ will have no shows there.
Aamir Khan’s China fans, which is huge in number, are fuming with anger over this alleged boycott and have expressed their displeasure on Wanda’s official website. Fans have accused them of being biased towards Bollywood flicks and have called this boycott a result of their ‘rivalry’ with Huayi, a marketing company.
The small town dwellers are left with no alternative as compared to the ones living in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai.
“There are no screenings in Taian [Shandong] because of Wanda. How can Wanda develop with such a small mindset?” wrote a Weibo user. Weibo is a China-based site that functions like Twitter.
Another user, Jing Fen Xiao Ao Jiao, asked, “I am so confused why Dangal is not being shown in every cinema and why there are so few schedules. What matters is that cinemas in my city does not show this film, neither does Wanda. Aamir Khan’s films are very good and very meaningful, why do cinemas not show them?”
Despite the boycott by Wanda, ‘Dangal’ is still the biggest Bollywood release in China and trade analysts are predicting it to make big bucks, especially after Aamir’s last release ‘PK’ earned close to 140 Cr despite releasing in almost half of the total number of screens.