Following Bal Thackeray’s demise, theatres cancelled shows adding to the losses
Vickey Lalwani & Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 19, 2012)
They had been engrossed in media warfare to ensure maximum eyeballs for their respective Diwali release. But little did Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn know what destiny had in store.
Despite releasing on a Tuesday, the beginning of a long festive week, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son Of Sardaar did not really get off to a flying start. The very next day, the films were dealt a blow after news of Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray’s critical health started filtering out of his Bandra East residence, Matoshree. When he passed away on Saturday afternoon, the city came to a standstill with theatres pulling down the shutters. The Diwali releases had approximately lost out on a net collection of Rs 16 crore by then.
Reportedly, theatres in Mumbai and other towns in Maharashtra – Pune, Nasik, Solapur, Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara, Nagpur, Amravati, Akola and Jalgaon cancelled movie shows adding to the films’ losses.
Over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) the loss ratio for JTHJ and SOS was estimated to be 7:9. In fact, according to leading distributor Ramesh Sippy the two films put together have lost out on Rs 12 crore.
This was further endorsed by trade expert Taran Adarsh. However, another leading distributor Devendra Shah said, “I think Rs 12 crore is an understatement. The two films must have easily suffered to the tune of Rs 16-18 crore.”
Explaining his take, Shah added, “Many did not get to see the films on Tuesday or Wednesday owing to Diwali celebrations. People had planned to watch JTHJ or SOS over the weekend.”An insider from the Son Of Sardaar team confirmed that the film has lost out on Rs 7 crore.
Owner of the leading single screen chain Gaiety-Galaxy, Manoj Desai told us, “We would surely have had 100 per cent occupancy on Saturday and Sunday. But honestly, I wouldn’t like to talk about the losses the films have suffered. We closed the theatres as a mark of respect to Balasaheb.” Anand Vishal, Head Of Operations at Fun Republic shared similar sentiment.
As far as exhibitors are concerned, Girish Wankhede of Cinemax India, was more forthcoming. “We had to cancel eight shows in 66 screens in Maharashtra. We expected occupancy of 55-60 per cent over the weekend, hence I would say that we lost out on a collection of nearly Rs 2 crore, which if we share 50 per cent with the distributor, implies we registered a dip of Rs 1 crore,” he said.
At the time of going to press, theatres across Maharashtra were in a dilemma if they would function on Monday. Wankhede from Cinemax confirmed, “We shall take stock of the situation around midnight. We have been inundated with calls asking for a refund. We shall return the ticket amount for the shows, which we were unable to screen. It’s a very tricky situation. Nobody must have thought that two such big films will be stopped in their tracks.”