Impact of big-budget films on smaller ones: Not enough screens for Ghoomer amid Gadar 2 and OMG 2 craze
Lately, small films have been getting crushed at the theatres due to big budget films, recent example being R Balki’s Ghoomer.
With multiple films vying at the box office almost every week, there’s a lot of clutter and backlog that’s waiting to get cleared. However, what’s noteworthy that there are some film made in smaller budgets, which suffer because of big-budget releases that occupy most of the screens in the theatres. Case in point, director R Balki’s latest release, Ghoomer, which is struggling to find enough shows and screens due to the unprecedented success of Gadar 2 and growing craze for OMG 2, both of which release a week before the Abhishek Bachchan and Saiyami Kher-starrer.
Earlier this year, Zwigato and Bheed also suffered the same fate when they released around the release of Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, and Chatrapathi’s box office collections were hurt due to The Kerala Story. These instances have led to a bigger question: Should there be a better strategy to release smaller films to ensure that they get a fair chance at the box office while fighting with big-ticket releases?
Film business analyst and producer, Girish Johar, asserts that the word of mouth of a film plays a major role in such cases. “Even if the film is small, it can be saved from getting crushed under a big banner if the content is good. The lack of proper promotion for Ghoomer led to the film remaining largely unnoticed by audiences,” he says, adding that then there are business dynamics that come into play.
“Exhibitors also want to have the scope of encashing. So, there is no absolute denying that small films get a little bottlenecked at times. If huge films like OMG 2 and Gadar 2 are released, it is a golden period for them to earn more and more by giving more screens to them, even if there’s a new release a week later,” adds Johar.
Trade expert Atul Mohan highlights the uphill struggle faced by small filmmakers in the industry. “The market is mostly dominated by multiplexes, and they believe that the cinema business is star-driven. Unless you have a star in the film, the film won’t get proper showcasing, no matter how good it is,” Mohan asserts, and mentions instances like The Kashmiri Files, which managed to grow despite limited initial screens due to positive word of mouth.
R Balki, the director of Ghoomer, admits being aware that their film does not have enough screens right now, because of the OMG 2 and Gadar 2 fever. However, happy with the audience’s reception, he tells us, “When to release the film? There is no option. I would have had to release it next January, to avoid anything else happening around the same time. It wouldn’t have been any different if it was released two weeks later also, because then Jawan release is there, and World Cup after that.”
Kamal Giachandani, CEO of PVR, says, “We are very judicious in terms of allocation. We look at the demand and on that basis, we take a call on which film would be shown more,” Giachandani states. In the case of Ghoomer, he says, “I think it received adequate showings.”
Weighing in on the matter, Joginder Mahajan, Film Distributors and General Secretary, Motion Pictures Association, stresses that when it comes to screen allocation, a businessman isn’t interested in knowing how the film is and all they care about is the revenue it’ll bring, hence, they get more shows.
“In many multiplexes, they even screen the release of a film on Friday, but if they see 5-6 people only, they discontinue the shows from the next day. When there are big film releases, then small films don’t get enough shows,” he continues, “Ghoomer ko yeh ek do show bhi isiliye mil gaye because iska distributor strong hai. If it was a small distributor, then ek bhi show nahi milta, that is also a possibility. Basically, the cinema owners need revenue, which is why such films get crushed in the process. Such filmmakers should change their release date and release at a time when there is no competition around the same time.”