It is a war going on in the distribution-exhibition sector and small players have to bear the brunt of it. There are reports that the big players have coerced distributors and exhibitors into blocking screens and theatres in spite of fall in collections to keep their rivals out. This has had a debilitating impact on independent producers who have not been able to have a decent release of their low budget critically acclaimed films.
RA.ONE, DELHI BELLY and ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA
The first signs of the war for the screen space emerged when DELHI BELLY producers and distributors expanded its distribution in the second week. It was apparently done because of an increased demand. The box office figures tell a different story. There was a steep fall in BO collections of DELHI BELLY in the second week (from 50 crores gross in the first week to 14) in spite of the expanded number of screens and theatres. However, the film continued to be shown in larger capacity screens in spite of poor attendance. Many felt it was a deliberate move to keep MURDER 2 at bay. ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA and SINGHAM distributors are following the DELHI BELLY strategy. In spite of the drop in collections, they have not reduced the numbers of shows and screens. This leaves small producers high and dry.
We already know that Shah Rukh Khan's marketing brigade intends to follow a similar strategy with the release of RA.ONE during Diwali. The film will be released on 3000 screens with over 2000 prints, leaving no room for any other film. If Red Chillies follows the DELHI BELLY, ZNMD, and SINGHAM strategy, no other film will find a theatrical release window in the next few weeks following RA.ONE.