Too tall a claim?

Published: 25 October, 2011 08:20 IST | Divya Unny |

RA.One is touted to open in a record 3,500 screens. Are 15 lakh plus people watching the film first-day-first-show?

RA.One is touted to open in a record 3,500 screens. Are 15 lakh plus people watching the film first-day-first-show?

With a marketing strategy running round the clock, Shah Rukh Khan has almost managed to blend RA.One into our everyday lives.

After over six months of aggressive promotions, the film is finally set to hit the big screens on Diwali. And here's the last leg of the run that is trying its best to make sure the film hits a jackpot.

RA.One will open in approximately 5000 screens worldwide, which makes it the biggest Bollywood release ever. In India alone, the film occupies over 3,500 screens, which is easily 30 per cent more than the last big release, Salman Khan's Bodyguard.

Not surprisingly, this has left little room for the other two releases this week that includes Hema Malini's Tell Me O Kkhuda and Himesh Reshammiya's Damadamm.
Says Ashish Saksena of Big Cinemas, "Shah Rukh's track record for Diwali has been almost 100 percent. There is little chance any exhibitor would let go of the opportunity to play the movie as much as possible. We opened advance bookings for selected screens last week and they are all houseful already."

Stills from RA.One

For instance, if a certain multiplex property has seven screens in all, on an average, six of them would be playing RA.One. The remaining one screen will be shared between TMOK, Damadamm and two Tamil releases, Suriya's 7 am Arivu and Vijay's Velayutham, (depending on if the multiplex chooses to screen regional films).

Trade analyst Amod Mehra thinks it's the largest kind of discrepancy the industry has ever seen with respect to simultaneous releases. He says, "Himesh's last few films have done dismal business and Tell Me O Kkhuda doesn't stand a chance competing with RA.

One when it comes to star value. So the exhibitors have reserved over 90 per cent screens for RA.One. More money the multiplex makes in the first weekend, the better revenues."

Tell Me O Kkhuda

Both Hema Malini and Himesh however seem least perturbed about RA.One eating up maximum screen space. The veteran actress says, "I am happy with the number of screens I have got.
No complaints." Adds Himesh, "If a movie like mine released on a stand alone basis, it would have found it difficult to sustain. Now we are getting around 300-350 screens across India and we are happy with that."

Interestingly, for most distributors, RA.One will be the film that might end the bad business of the pre-Diwali period. Distributor Ramesh Sippy says, "The film releases on Wednesday and it is expected to take in maximum money on the first weekend.


With this kind of screen space, chances are that collections for RA.One will fall in the second week itself. But still distributors are at an advantage because their ownership percentage is maximum in the first week." Adds a Cinemax representative, "If multiplexes had a choice, they would allot all screens to RA.One."

Apparently the second SRK starrer this year, Don 2 may surpass RA.One when it comes to screen space. Says producer Ritesh Sidhwani, "There is no other film releasing with Don 2. So I will show it in every single screen in the country if possible."

Recent releases:
Films - Number of screens
RA.One - 3,500
Bodyguard - 2,700
Delhi Belly - 1,400
Rockstar - 2,500 (expected number)

International biggie:

Avatar released in almost 14,000 screens and is considered to have seen the biggest release in the history of cinema.

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