MUMBAI: The festival period is always looked at as a healthy time for movie releases. Producers usually cash in on the October – November period, which has festivals like Diwali and Eid.
The last couple of years saw movies like Jaan-E-Mann and Don (2006) and Om Shanti Om and Saawariya (2007) being pitted against each other during this period.
This year, however, five films are targeting a release during October. While Eid falls on Thursday, 2 October; Diwali is on Tuesday, 28 October.
Studio 18 is readying Aamir Khan starrer Gajini for Eid release, others are vying for a release on 24 October, (the Friday before Diwali) including the likes of Yash Raj Films, which will release its animation flick Roadside Romeo.
Apart from this, Eros International is looking at releasing the Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer Yuvraaj, which is directed by Subhash Ghai; Shree Ashtavinayak too is keen on releasing Golmaal Returns on Diwali. The film stars Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade and Celina Jaitely.
However, unlike Yash Raj Films and Eros, Warner Bros. is planning to release its Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone starrer Chandi Chowk To China on Wednesday, 29 October, which is a a days after Diwali.
Speaking to Businessofcinema.com, Warner Bros’ director sales Neeraj Goswami says, "Before Diwali, the Hindus are busy with festivities, so 24 October did not appear like a viable release date. It makes more sense to release the movie a day after Diwali on Wednesday, 29 October. Also in the overseas movies open on Wednesdays and it is a better day from the marketing and sales perspective."
While last year saw the first Hollywood studio – Sony Pictures – release its debut Bollywood film – Saawariya, this year Diwali will see Warner Bros making its impression in the Diwali period.
Chandni Chowk To China is more than 50 per cent complete. The cast and crew are currently in China to wrap up the entire shooting by mid-May. On the other hand, Ghai’s Yuvraaj is 75 per cent complete, the last schedule of the film will commence on 15 April.
In 2005 and 2006, Eid and Diwali festivals were either on the same date or two – three days apart. This widened the release of a particular movie by ensuring more sections of audience inside the theatres. In 2007, Eid and Dassera were two-three days apart with Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Laaga Chunari Main Daag release during that period, while Diwali saw Om Shanti Om and Saawariya releasing.
This year, Eid and Diwali are four weeks apart. While this offers two release date options for distributors, it also divides the audience.
The debate continues as to whether Eid or Diwali is a better option for releasing a film.