Commerce vs creativity: Bollywood's obsession over massive opening & its consequences

Diwali releases have not lived up to expectations many times in the past few years and Thugs of Hindostan is latest addition to the list.

Mumbai: Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Thugs of Hindostan, the much-awaited film of 2018, made its way on Diwali in whopping 6000 screens worldwide. Bankrolled by Yash Raj Films, the magnum opus is the costliest film Bollywood has ever made. In order to encash on the lucrative Diwali release, it was reported that the ticket prices for the film were hiked by at least 10 percent. With the tremendous hype surrounded it, the cinegoers flocked to the theatres in large numbers making the film Bollywood's highest opener recording a path breaking first day Box office collection of Rs 52.25cr. However, with the subsequent negative word of mouth and disastrous reviews from the critics, Thugs Of Hindostan got a solid shock with swiftly dropping collections post the mammoth opening.

To safe-zone the film from the unpredictable nature of business, the makers are frequently relying on the gimmick of hype and marketing. With an excessive usage of such practice stands an important question - Has Bollywood's obsession with massive openings set out a battle between commerce and creativity?

Also Read | Aamir Khan starrer Thugs of Hindostan is money-making machine ahead of release

The biggest hit of 2018 so far - Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju - had fetched Rs 334.53 crore in its total box office run. Interestingly, more than Rs 119 crore of the collections came from the film’s opening weekend alone which is 35% of total revenue. Salman Khan starrer Race 3 released on Eid this year and made the most out of the festival weekend in terms of box office collections, despite overwhelmingly negative word of mouth. The film opened at Rs 29.17 crore and managed to earn Rs 166.15 crore in lifetime collections.

Also Read | Aamir Khan’s film witnesses big fall in box-office collection

Thugs of Hindostan has done its best business where there was an extended time window of Diwali holidays but even in such favourable situation the collections are not what they should be. The film collected Rs 123 crore in its extended four day weekend with dropping collections each day post the fantastic opening day. However, the negative reviews and ordinary word of mouth started kicking in which showed a quick effect on box-office numbers from the following day. The first day was 42% of its total extended weekend collections and which only indicates that the audiences have rejected the film. The performance overseas is still worse than India and it was pretty much poor from day one.

It is noteworthy to mention that both films managed to score almost similar collections in the three major multiplex chains in India, - PVR, INOX and Cinepolis - over their opening weekends: Rs 34.80 crore (Race 3) and Rs 34.25 crore (Thugs of Hindostan).Looking at the collections of Race 3 and Thugs of Hindostan, it can be said that both Eid and Diwali have gone wrong this year.

Big production houses seem to be making easy choices for their films so that they could reap maximum benefits before the word-of-mouth kicks in. During the festivities people come to cinemas in horde to watch movies and in order to attract bigger footfall, films are being sold with hype and marketing. On the other hand, there are certain films like AndhaDhun, Badhaai Ho, Raazi where the word-of-mouth publicity plays a vital role in to score a healthy lifetime collection. But unfortunately the word-of-mouth movies are quite limited in the current situation. With the advent of social media, it takes very little time for word-of-mouth to adversely affect the film if the quality is not up to the mark.

Diwali releases have not lived up to expectations many times in the past few years and Thugs of Hindostan is latest addition to the list. These films score a bumper opening but later fail to secure a respectable total collection. Hrithik Roshan starrer 2013 superhero drama Krrish 3 and Salman Khan’s 2015 Diwali release Prem Ratan Dhan Payo ended up with lifetime collections of Rs 175 crore and Rs 194 crore after opening weekends of Rs 49 crore and Rs 97 crore respectively. Last Diwali's Golmaal Again made 42.63% of its overall Rs 205.50 crore earnings in its opening weekend and 66.18% of the collections over its opening week.

The merging of both commerce and creativity is now very common culture within the film industry which results into a 'product' than a film. The amalgamation of creative idea with the commerce avenue would potentially ruin the cultural and creative edge towards the project if it were taken in the hands of commercial structures to gain further revenue and publicity.

With the last quarter of 2018 in the final stage, it would be interesting to see what Bollywood has in store during the Christmas time.

(Box-office figures have been sourced from film trade website Box Office India and trade analyst Taran Adarsh)

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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