This season, Bollywood is ready to take on the Indian Premier League googly. After seeing some kind of cricket fatigue, Bollywood lined up a string of big-budget releases, with close to Rs 200-250 crore riding on these.
The first to release is Sajid Nadiadwala’s Housefull 2, a sequel to the 2010 successful comedy flick, in April. The movie has been acquired by Eros International. Others to release are Vidhu Vinod Chopra-Rajkumar Hirani’s Ferrari Ki Sawaari; Priyadarshan-directed Tezz, starring Ajay Devgan; Mukesh Bhatt-Emraan Hashmi’s Jannat 2; Yash Raj Films’s Ishaqzaade; Viacom 18 Motion Picture’s action thriller Department, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt; and Vikram Bhatt’s 3D film, Dangerous Ishhq. All these are in the range of Rs 35-60 crore.
“The release of big-budget movies during IPL this year is a conscious call, beating the trend of the last four years. With team India’s poor performance in the last few tournaments and the dip in TV ratings, producers are hopeful the movies will do well,” said Taran Adarsh, film trade analyst.
IPL-5 starts on April 4. Until last year, IPL’s impact was so huge that cinema halls started showing IPL matches as few people turned up to watch movies. Before IPL was launched in 2008, the April-June period was considered lucrative as it coincided with the vacation for students. Things changed since last one year, when Viacom 18 Motion Pictures bucked the trend with Tanu Weds Manu (2010) collecting Rs 38 crore in the middle of the cricket season, as it enjoyed a longer window, being the solo release during the season. Last year, several movies such as Dum Maaro Dum, Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Haunted 3D and Ragini MMS had a healthy run at the box office.
“People are not only going to watch IPL all of April and May. We are releasing Ferrari Ki Sawaari during the school vacations, which we think is the ideal time for family viewers,” says Samir Rao, chief executive officer at Vinod Chopra Productions. Most entertainment industry officials feel Bollywood has to learn to co-exist with IPL, considering that the latter has become a part of the calendar, rather than losing a six-week window. “In the US and UK, sports and entertainment co-exist as sporting activities are held through the year,” said Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax.
Also, the increase in the number of movies being released every year has prompted film producers to plan movie releases in a manner that the releases do not clash. “This too has led film producers to choose April-May to release their movies,” said Hiren Gada, director, Shemaroo Entertainment.
Industry officials expects the first quarter of 2012-13 to be better in terms of revenue than the previous year due to a stronger line-up of movies. “It’s not just Bollywood, foreign movies like Men in Black-3, The Avengers and James Cameron’s Titanic, which is being re-released in 3D, are also in the pipeline,” an official added.