MUMBAI: When the Yash Raj Films – Ajay Devgn Ffilms tussle over box office had begun, Bollywood filmmaker Ramesh Sippy had commented that “Business is never healthy! Also, it is not necessary that a two-week run is implied to essentially kill the next big movie-in-line. The idea could be to let the distributor have the upper hand. Else, sometimes the exhibitors are rather merciless!”
It seems Sippy hit bull’s eye with his understanding.
In an interesting move, approximately 300 single screens have replaced Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ with Ajay Devgn’s ‘Son of Sardaar’.
Originally, these very screen owners had made a pact with Yash Raj Films, at the time of Salman Khan’s ‘Ek Tha Tiger’s release, to showcase only ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ when it released.
In Mumbai, Chitra theatre in Dadar, Premiere in Dongri, Dreamland and Central Plaza have made this move, as has Apsara Big theatre in Ahmedabad.
Manoj Desai, the owner of Maratha Mandir, shrugged of the change. He said that he was showcasing three shows of ‘JTHJ’ but has reduced the number of shows to two.
The scene is similar in other parts of the country. Another distributor and exhibitor from Central India, Aditya Choksi has said “Just like in other parts of India, in my circuit, ‘SOS’ was screened in few theatres like Neel Kamal and Kusum (Indore) and Ganesh ( Pune). It was a success.”
Needless to say, Ajay Devgn Ffilms is very happy with this move of single-screen owners.
“I had confidence in my product and I had faith in right and wrong. I knew I was right. I knew that eventually I will get what I deserve,” said Devgn.
The actor and producer added, “The second week is also going to be fabulous with 300 more screens. I am thrilled.”
Ajay Devgn’s business manager Kumar Mangat too believes this is good for the film. “Theatres that couldn’t screen SOS before will now be able to do so. I am told around 300 to 370 screens will be allotted to the film,” he said.
While this move has come from screen owners, one wonders that if ‘JTHJ’ had not received the head start, would ‘SOS’ have still been runner-up?
Or could the comic caper have even beaten the romantic flick in terms of box office performance?
YRF does not seem to care either way. A spokesperson from the company said “It is normal trade practise to drop screen/show count in a week or two. And we have done just that after a successful run during which the film would have collected approximately 100 crores at the domestic box office and 50 crores overseas, at the end of the extended first week. Also, a lot of the theatres have been booked only for a one week run.”