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Box office: Game over for 'Players'

Poor opening will see the New Year's first big release bite dust at the ticket-windows, state trade experts

When No One Killed Jessica's release date was fixed as the first Friday of the year, in 2011, it raised eyebrows as the date was considered to be jinxed. However, the film went on to become a winner at the box office.


Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu in Players

This year too, after Abbas-Mustan's Players was scheduled for release on the first Friday of the year, it was expected to give handsome returns at the box office. Ironically, the film's 'Go For Gold' tagline failed to strike gold.

Pegging the first three days' figures at about R 14 to 15 crore, Komal Nahta, trade analyst attributes it to wrong casting and very ordinary actors. "A thriller is usually fast-paced.

But the actors' performances are so lifeless that the pace doesn't come through," he says, adding that bad music and the 170-minute running time made it worse. He concludes that the producers and distributors together will lose about R 25 crore on the desi version of the Hollywood hit, The Italian Job.

"Ponty Chada, who acquired the India distribution rights for about R 32-33 crore, and those he sold the rights to, will lose about R 15 crore while the producers, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures will lose another 10 crore," he points out.

In the same vein, veteran trade analyst Amod Mehra adds that not many people went to see the movie. "Players just didn't grab the public's attention. The promotion didn't generate the hype and none of the actors have a decent hit behind them to draw a decent initial," he observes.

A distributor who is releasing the film in one of the territories in the country remarks, "Firstly, the cast didn't excite the audience. And secondly, for the first time in so many years, Abbas-Mustan have bad music in their movie."

Meanwhile, Hollywood seems to be having a better run at the ticket windows with Sherlock Holmes 2 continuing to do well.

Opening to about 70 percent occupancy on release on December 30, the Robert Downey Junior-Jude Law thriller registered decent numbers in the second weekend, netting over Rs 6.5 crore in 10 days.

Prakhar Joshi, programming head of PVR Cinemas, says, "The second Friday saw about 50 per cent occupancy, which went up to 60-70 per cent on Saturday-Sunday."

Now, all eyes are on Agneepath, the next big star release on January 26. "The film has generated tremendous hype, going by the response to Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt in the promos. And Katrina Kaif's Chikni Chameli has added a lot more spice too. In all probability, it will get a mind-blowing opening," echo the trade experts.

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