Mumbai: The month of June saw a flurry of footfalls across multiplexes in India. The month’s two Sundays – 8 and 15 June – recorded maximum footfalls and grossed highest box office collections across all multiplexes in India for 2008.
After a wait of more than five months, the benchmark has finally been set at a level that meets exhibition companies’ expectations. While until now average occupancy levels at chains have been in the range of 25 – 45%, on 8 June, multiplex chains like Fame India, Fun Cinemas, Inox and PVR saw average footfalls of 67%, the collections garnered were approximately Rs 4,44,31,305. On the other hand, on 15 June, chains like Adlabs and Cinemax saw average footfalls of 60% with collections of Rs 1,99,81,028.
However, the irony of the situation is that, none of the movies that released on either 6 or 13 June garnered rave reviews. The movies that released on Friday, 6 June were Sarkar Raj, Aamir, Sex & The City and 21, whereas 13 June saw the release of films like Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Summer of 2007, The Happening, Kamal Hasan starrer Dasavtharam and animated film Dashavtar.
Whether it’s a matter of rejoice that this record setting day finally arrived, or a matter of concern that it took more than five months to arrive, is fodder to chew on for the film industry.While big flicks like Jodhaa Akbar and Race did well, they were unable to pull the crowds into any multiplex chain in such large numbers as mentioned in the chart above.
Talking specifically of this financial year, April onwards there have been very few releases, of which Tashan bombed miserably, whereas Bhootnath and Jannat faired okay. Some distribution companies postponed the release of their movies to avoid conflict with the DLF Indian Premier League cricket series. The others that clashed their release with IPL had to bear the brunt, especially in the evening shows at theatres.
Fun Cinemas programming head Bhumika Tiwari says, "The first quarter of this financial year has been extremely poor for multiplexes. The quality of films released in 2008 has been extremely poor compared to the years 2007 and 2006."
Cinemax India senior vice president Devang Sampat says, "The second quarter should be better hopefully with at least four – five good movies lined up each month from June end onwards."
With movies of all the Khans, Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan lined up for release in the second half of 2008, there still seems hope on the horizon.