Jab We Met mops Rs 120 mn in opening weekend

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MUMBAI: Last week saw the release of Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor starrer Jab We Met, John Abraham and Ayesha Takia starrer No Smoking, Shemaroo’s animation flick Bal Ganesh, ASA Films and Vikram Bhatt’s debut production venture Mumbai Salsa and also Paramount’s A Mighty Heart starring Irrfan Khan alongside Angelina Jolie.

While most of them had at least a small reason to take an initial opening at the box office, only Jab We Met met with considerable success at the box office in select Indian cities and the overseas collecting Rs 120 million (Rs 12 crores) worldwide in its opening weekend.

According to an official statement from The Indian Film Company, which distributed the film worldwide, the film grossed in excess of Rs 100 million (Rs 10 crores) in India at over 460 screens in its opening weekend. It collected £157,000 in the UK across 31 cinemas and in the UAE, AED 400,000 across 12 cinemas. The tally for the opening weekend collections thus totted up to approximately Rs 120 million (Rs 12 crores).

With preview shows held on 25 October (Thursday) in the UK, wherein it grossed approximately £11,488. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the film grossed £144,525 in the UK. That apart, the first five day collections in the UK were that of £171,000. This is the biggest ever opening for a solo Shahid Kapoor starrer, radically above that of his other erstwhile film releases in the UK like Chup Chup Ke and 36 China Town.

In the UAE, the film has grossed approximately AED 450,000 till now.

While the film hasn’t been received enthusiastically in smaller towns, it managed to hold its fort at multiplexes in Mumbai and other metros this week. Trade sources inform that there has been no radical drop in collection at multiplexes. Its collections for Monday and Tuesday are as good as that of Friday at multiplexes.< Page Break >

INOX vice president programming and distribution Saurabh Varma reiterates, “The film collected Rs 500,000 at our property in Kolkata and had the same collections on Monday as well.”

Studio 18 Head – UK & Europe, Tanuj Garg says, “It’s been a while since we had a young well-made romantic comedy. The heartening opening of Jab We Met in the UK can be attributed to strong marketing and promotion aided by exuberant reviews and word-of-mouth.”

Despite repeated attempts, the US and all India collection figures were not made available by company officials.

On the other hand, No Smoking, which was in the limelight ever since its making, hasn’t enthused audiences. The movie is a case in point of how wide media coverage need not translate into audience in theatres.

Comparing the promotions and opening of Jab We Met and No Smoking, the head of programming of a leading multiplex chain says, “It the promos that made the difference. The promos of Jab We Met were very appealing, while that of No Smoking were so vague. This is what influenced the opening of both films and then the word of mouth traveled very fast.”< Page Break >

Animation film Bal Ganesh did see a few group booking, but the film had a scope of doing better business due to ongoing vacation period, however poor publicity played the culprit. Cinemax vice president marketing and programming Devang Sampat says, “A release on 2 November would have been ideal for Bal Ganesh. Kids are enjoying the film and it will pick up. But by 2 November exams across all schools would be over and it would have also given the movie an exclusive release because no other films are releasing on that day.”

Despite the average opening in theatres the film may pick up well on the home video circuit, especially if one is to consider the case of animation film Krishna and live action animation film My Friend Ganesha, which too got a better response on home video as compared to box office.

Why would anybody go to a multiplex, purchase a ticket worth Rs 200 of Mumbai Salsa to see faces that they neither know nor recognize? Nonetheless, the film did get only about two – three shows at multiplexes, despite it being promoted as a high concept film targeted for the multiplexes. “Mumbai Salsa is better than No Smoking, although it landed up getting lesser shows than No Smoking. That is where star power works,” says another programming head.

Sampat adds, “A night show works best for Mumbai Salsa. The movie will sustain till next week but with a single show only.”< Page Break >

Coming to A Mighty Heart, the movie was promoted more during its shooting in India than during its theatrical release in India. The film is fairing decently across a few multiplexes, but more publicity would have worked wonders for the film. A Mighty Heart released on 22 June in the US where the opening weekend collections were $ 4 lakhs (Rs 1.56 crores). PVR programming head Prakhar Joshi points out, “If the movie had had a timely release in India coupled with good publicity, it would definitely have helped.”

Meanwhile, Bhool Bhulaiyaa entered its third week and is still holding strong and contributing to the footfalls at multiplexes.

Jab We Met released with an average of five – seven shows across PVR properties, an average of six shows at Cinemax properties and eight – 10 at INOX. The poor performance of other movies may as well have a positive result on Jab We Met with the number of shows being upped.

Moreover there is no Hindi film releasing this Friday, which will prove to be an added bonus for the movie. The only movies to hit theatres this Friday (2 November) are Paramount’s Stardust and Warner Brothers’ Nancy Drew.