Box office bonanza in June with 11 releases

MUMBAI: For 2007, the box office bells finally rang in the month of May with the release of much hyped films like Spider-Man 3 and Metro, followed by Cheeni Kum and Shootout At Lokhandwala towards the month end.

The feat will be carried forward to the month of June and is in fact, expected to be bigger and better. This month has an incredible line up of movies, from both Hollywood and Bollywood. Beginning 1 June 2007 with Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek The Third, the Juhi Chawla starrer Swami and multi starrer Fool N Final are lined up. Oceans 13 and the Pankaj Kapur starrer Dharm (which was screened at Cannes), Emraan Hashmi starrer The Train on 8 June, Yash Raj’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom on 15 June, Himesh Reshammiya’s Aap Ka Suroor, Anil Sharma directed Apne and Awarapan from the Bhatt stable follow on 29 June 2007.

But will this steady flow of promising flicks translate into encouraging advance bookings and house full shows?

“Every year, the releases in the month of May and June are generally more exciting due to the vacation period. The flow is particularly good this June. Until two years ago, there would be a single movie release on Friday. But now, we can easily accommodate two or more releases,” says PVR CEO operations Amitabh Vardhan.

All the multiplexes are betting big and eagerly awaiting the release of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, starring Amitabh Bahchcan, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Bobby Deol and Lara Dutta. “In the case of a Yash Raj film, people want to see it, irrespective of the content. Their films are targeted at both, the masses and the classes. But in case of Aap Ka Suroor or Apne, one has to depend on the quality of the content for the film to be a success,” explains Cinemax vice president marketing and programming Devang Sampat.

But long before Jhoom Barabar Jhoom hits screens, is the Johnny Depp starrer POC will release in India on 1 June 2007 with 300 prints. The film has had the biggest opening in industry history, and has garnered $401 million within the first six days of release. This film is pitted against Dreamwork’s Shrek the Third. Both are pitted against Fool N Final, a comedy film that boasts an array of actors including Sunny Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Shahid Kapur, Ayesha Takia, Sameera Reddy, Jackie Shroff, Om Puri, Paresh Rawal, Johnny Lever, Arbaaz Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Chunkey Pandey, Gulshan Grover, Vijay Raaz, Zakir Hussain Suresh Menon, Asrani, Sunil Pal and Razzak Khan.

Fame’s programming head Gaurav Varma says, “We are expecting Oceans 13 to do phenomenal business and plan to screen 11 to 13 shows across all Fame properties. For Jhoom…, it will be close to 15  to 18 shows. In terms of revenue, June is expected to be the biggest reaper of 2007, with collections mounting to 20 to 30 per cent over the average collection of the remaining 11 months. Jhoom… and Oceans 13 will do extraordinary business whereas other films will contribute towards the business.”

On the other hand, G7’s managing director Manoj Desai says, “June definitely appears to be a promising month, but I do not want to predict my expectations and then fall flat.” Fair enough, considering that unconventional has become the latest essential element for the success mantra.

Needless to say, the Rajnikanth starrer Sivaji is also slated for release this June. Made on a large scale, this film is expected to have an equally big opening. PVR Hyderabad and Bangalore are awaiting this film for their south India properties and Jhoom Barbar Jhoom for the remaining properties across India. “Yes, we will screen Yash Raj’s films in PVR. We even screened Ta Ra Rum Pum in all properties, excluding Gurgaon,” clarifies Vardhan. “We expect the occupancy level to go up to 60 per cent in the month of June, as compared to 40 to 45 per cent round the year.”            

Currently, promotions for Aap Ka Suroor, Apne and Awarapan are beginning to get aggressive. “The release of these films in June will continue to get returns in July as well, just as Cheeni Kum and Shootout… are expected to do business in June as well,” states Sampat. 

While Aap Ka Suroor has a big curiosity factor attached to it, Anil Sharma has Gadar’s success and the Deol family backing him up and Bhatt’s Awarapan is Vishesh Films’ most expensive project to date, costing approximately Rs 180 million (Rs 18 crore). With this film, Bhatts and Hashmi will cross over to the overseas market for the first time.

Last year’s blockbuster releases of June include Phir Hera Pheri, Krrish, Superman Returns, The Da Vinci Code and Fanaa that released in May, but went on to do business in June and July as well.