It's that time of the year when the biggest films with the biggest stars are lined up for release. Starting with Rascals this Dussehra, RA.One during the Diwali fest and then Don 2 during Christmas, trade analysts say Rs 450 plus crore are riding on Bollywood this last quarter of 2011.
Add English films like Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Adventures Of TinTin, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol to name a few and experts predict another Rs 100 crore will be made at the ticket windows.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra is most gung-ho about RA.One and Don 2. "Both are big films with Shah Rukh Khan. His last release was My Name Is Khan over a year and half ago. And the last release he had during Diwali was Yash Chopra's Veer Zaara," he enthuses.
John Abraham and Deepika Padukone in Desi Boyz
Komal Nahta, editor of Film Information, explains, "In a way, SRK is reclaiming his Diwali spot so many years after Veer Zaara. This time he's also got the Christmas slot for Don 2. Given that these are festival and holiday periods, there should be considerable increase in business for the films. Aamir Khan will be reclaiming Christmas next year with Dhoom 3, and Salman Khan has already booked Eid slot."
Meanwhile, Ajay Devgn is expected to continue his golden run with Rascals, which releases this Thursday. "Singham worked on its sheer merit and Ajay's stellar performance. So the Rs 50 crore Rascals is naturally expected to get a very good opening. Being a comedy, the entire family can enjoy this film," says an industry veteran.
Sharing Nahta's view that this quarter is better than the previous ones is Delhi-based distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts Ltd. Attributing his optimism to the kind of numbers the blockbusters of this year have done at the box-office, he's certain RA.One and Don 2 will make the most noise.
"At one time, video, cable television and DVD affected the theater business. But the change in the experience of watching a movie in a theater has brought a positive response. RA.One and Don 2 in 3D and other films like Rascals, Desi Boyz, Rockstar and The Dirty Picture have aroused the audience's curiosity," he says.
While RA.One is ensuring a considerable increase in 3D screens, it seems Don 2 will make the most of it. Prakhar Joshi of PVR Cinemas informs they are increasing the number of 3D screens for the SRK-Kareena Kapoor film. He attributes this to the success of Vikram Bhatt's Haunted in 3D.
"Despite not being a family film with any big stars, 50 per cent of Haunted's theatrical revenue came from 3D screens. Though it takes time to get 3D screens ready, if the format works for RA.One, more screens will be upgraded for Don 2," he states.
Besides the big releases, there's yet another 'small' expectation. Just like the reasonably budgeted Band Baaja Baaraat emerged as the unexpected hit of 2010, this year too, producer Aditya Chopra is expected to spring a surprise in the form of Ladies V/S Ricky Bahl. Trade analyst Amod Mehra attributes it to the teaming of Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma, which he says has caught audience's attention for now. Let's just hope the films are worth the money pumped in!
Rs 450-500 crore
Oct 6: Rascals (Rs 50 crore)
Dir: David Dhawan
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn
Oct 26 : RA.One (Rs 150-200 crore)
Dir: Anubhav Sinha
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal
Nov 11: Rockstar (Rs 70 crore)
Dir: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri
Nov 25: Desi Boyz (Rs 70 crore)
Dir: Rohit Dhawan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Chitrangda Singh
Dec 2: The Dirty Picture (Rs 25 cr)
Dir: Milan Luthria
Cast: Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor
Dec 9: Ladies V/S Ricky Bahl (Rs 20 cr)
Dir: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma
Dec 23: Don 2 (Rs 100 crore)
Dir: Farhan Akhtar
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra