Come Deepavali, and there seems to be a host of new releases — and interestingly, most of them star big actors. Karthi’s Kaashmora, Dhanush’s Kodi, Vishal’s Kaththi Sandai, GVP’s Kadavul Irukkan Kumaaru, Vijay Antony’s Saithan, etc., have already announced a Deepavali release. Besides these, there are three other small films set for a release during the same period.
The TFPC and distributors have already requested the big stars to space out their films, since the availability of theaters may be difficult, and it will affect the box-office prospects of each film.
The troubles start from next Friday itself! On October 7, Sivakarthikeyan’s Remo, Vijay Sethupathi’s Rekka and Prabhu Deva- Tamannaah’s Devi(l) are releasing. All three are much-anticipated flicks and trade pundits feel that this is not a healthy trend.
In today’s scenario, with video piracy taking its toll on collections, a film running packed houses for a week itself is a tough proposition. Ace distributor, exhibitor and producer, Abirami Ramanathan, explains, “As of today, there are no distributors buying films out right in the Tamil industry. We work on commission basis. I have released 40 films recently. We don’t have any say with respect to release. If the producer wants to release his/her film, I have to exhibit in the theaters.
There is a fixed number of audience who come to the theaters. If five movies are getting released, they tend to divide. If the content is good, the film will run. And then a vacuum is created, which allows dubbed and English movies to get an entry in TN theaters.”
Trade analyst, Sura, echoes Ramanathan’s views — “Content is the king. There was a time when two of thespian Sivaji Ganesan’s movies, Sorgam and Engirundho Vandhaal released at the same time during a festive season. Both were of different genres and were huge hits because it lived upto people’s expectations.”
“Similarly, when Vikraman’s small-budget film Pudhu Vasantham competed with 13 other big releases in 1990, audiences lapped it up because it had fresh content. More recently, Kakka Muttai, made on a shoestring budget, was the biggest blockbuster,” Sura opines.
“The number of theaters has come down from 2400 to merely 800. And they are all, what we can be call, the same category (A, B, C) with digitalisation in place,” also adds producer Karthik, unhappy with this state of affairs.
“With the limited number of screens, how will they accommodate five big flicks during the festive occasion? Those with clout may get more number of screens. Eventually, only two will win and the rest will face losses,” says a distributor on anonymity....