Holidays and festivals not only bring cheer to us but also to the Indian film industry. The Indian festive season is the only period when a clash of big-ticket Bollywood films does not result in loss of business.
Usually, a box office clash is believed to cut into the business of the respective films and according to film trade analysts, Bollywood has been losing a huge sum with both big and small same-day releases as they bite into each others' collection at the box office.
However, Mukta Arts Managing Director, Rahul Puri said this thumb rule does not apply to films being released during the festive season.
Clashes do impact revenue in certain circumstances but if you take the holiday window like January 26 (Republic Day), August 15 (Independence Day) or Diwali period then during this time two big films can easily come and live with each other, Puri said.
Film trade experts reckon the limited number of screens in the country is a big hurdle for the industry. But India's challenge of low screen density (8 screens/million) is an opportunity which the multiplexes are capitalizing on.
In 2016, multiplexes across the country together added approximately 200 screens. Industry discussions indicate the industry is likely to grow at a similar pace, adding 150-200 screens a year.
Reiterating that a clash of films during a festive period can provide better results, Puri said, We have enough multiplexes to give due importance to two films during these days.
The fate of many Hindi films could have been otherwise if not for the holiday period. Salman Khan-starrer Tubelight is a proof of it.
The film raked in Rs 156.39 crore in India, thanks to the Eid holiday without which the film would not have fared well at the box office. Despite being rejected by the audience on day two, the war drama held its ground because the extra free time and holiday fervour pushed people to watch it.
The same can be said about newer releases like the Sharaddha Kapoor-starrer Haseena Parkar, Sanjay Dutt's comeback film Bhoomi and India's choice for an Oscar nomination under the Best Foreign Film category Newton.
It is because of the festive season that these movies are seeing growth in their business. Dutt's Bhoomi would have almost certainly faltered at the box office otherwise.
The film started on a slow note and did not gain much over the weekend. On opening day, the film collected Rs 1.96 crore and during the weekend the combined total of Saturday and Sunday is Rs 4.75 crore (Saturday- Rs 2.25 crore and Sunday Rs 2.50 crore).
Amid the three new releases this Friday, Haseena Parkar has been the worst performing film, according to Box Office India report. The film grossed Rs 4.22 crore over the first three days (Friday 1.37 crore, Saturday- Rs 1.40, Sunday Rs 1.45,00,000) and the festive period came as a saving grace.
It is because of the festive clash that movie-goers have options this week or else the industry would have seen a major slump. After two disappointing films, it looks like the audience is moving to Rajkumar Rao's Newton.
The film saw a good upturn on Saturday and the film consolidated on Sunday. Newton also got extra screens over the weekend as the other two films, which had bigger releases, fared badly. Newton is now playing in about 500 screens, while Haseena Parkar and Bhoomi have screen counts of 1,000 and 2,000, respectively.
Films like Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani too have the holiday period to thank for their business. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale clashed with Bajirao Mastani on Christmas but both films raked in more money than they would have done in solo releases during a non-holiday period.
While Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani went on to make Rs 185 crore, Dilwale grossed Rs 140 crore, which would have been a tall order without the festive period.