Eid, Christmas and Diwali dates are selling like hot cakes as most big banners are booking them way in advance
The release date of Hrithik Roshan's next Krrish 2 was announced two years in advance. Salman Khan blocked Eid 2012 for his Ek Tha Tiger last November.
Aamir Khan in Talaash
SRK's next with YRF that is to hit the marquee this November was booked one year in advance. This only goes to show that filmmakers are going all out to make sure that they secure the hottest dates in the calendar in order to rake in the moolah.
Since a couple of years now, producers and distributors have been considering longer weekends, aided by national holidays, for the release of films. Veteran trade analyst Amod Mehra points out that somewhere this trend has been inspired from the West.
"Initially, in Hollywood, many films would be censored and kept ready months in advance. This is because they schedule the release to best suit the genre of the movies," he says, adding that in Bollywood, the mindset till a few years ago was to encase the expenses incurred in making the movies.
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif on the sets of Ek Tha Tiger
"Now, even the smaller films announce their dates early, instead of waiting for others to make their announcements."
It is known that Karan Johar was keen to release Agneepath on January 26. But since Aamir Khan's Talaash was scheduled as a Replublic Day release, the Hrithik Roshan film was to open on January 13.
But when Aamir was vacating the slot, he reportedly called Karan, who moved his Agneepath's release back to January 26. And the film made history by setting a new record opening of R 23 crore in India.
Mumbai-based distributor Ramesh Sippy attributes the rush to secure best release dates to fewer available dates on the calendar now. "Earlier, only Ramzaan, Shraadh and pre-Diwali were avoided to release films. So there were 10 and a half months to release movies.
Now that has shrunk to six-seven months due to the Indian Premiere League, exams; even Muharram has become a factor to consider," he explains, reasoning that if one territory gets affected, the entire business suffers when the stakes are high.
Saif Ali Khan in Agent Vinod
"It didn't matter so much when the stakes were lower, but now the calculations go haywire. So the big film banners rush to block the best dates, while the smaller ones are left to fend for themselves," he states.
However, the dates are not blocked randomly, as Priti Shahani, Chief Strategy Officer at Reliance Entertainment points out.
"The right date is a key decision in the commercial success of a movie and make a huge impact on the box-office revenue. The genre, star and the scale of the film are key aspects considered before deciding when to release a movie," she elaborates.
No wonder then that Aamir Khan chose June 1 to release his forthcoming suspense thriller, Talaash. It's the first film after IPL that ends on May 27.
Likewise, Saif Ali Khan is releasing his spy thriller Agent Vinod on March 23, the last big film before IPL starts on April 4. What is interesting to note is that Rakesh Roshan has already decided to release his Krissh 3 with son Hrithik, next Diwali (2013).
On the same note, Delhi-based distributor Sanjay Ghai reiterates on the significance of the initial a film rakes in on release. "If a movie doesn't open well on Friday, then Sunday will see only a marginal rise in the numbers.
That could prove very bad for everyone associated with it," he says, adding that while Don 2 released on a working Friday, the Christmas vacation helped boost its numbers.
"The holidays contributed in a big way to the numbers of Don 2. Had it released during any other time, the business would have been comparatively lesser," he maintains.
Booked! Agent Vinod: March 23 Housefull 2: April 5 Talaash: June 1 Rowdy Rathore: June 15 Bol Bachchan: July 6 Ek Tha Tiger: Eid - August Joker: August 31 Lootera: Dassera - October 26 Son Of Sardar, Khiladi 786, Yash Chopra's next: November 13 (Diwali - Tuesday) Dabangg 2: December 21 (Christmast on December 25, Tuesday)