Positive word of mouth driven by good content helps ‘Shang-Chi’ make a strong opening

The performance of "Shang-Chi" has brought joy to the film exhibition business, which has been hit by full (in Maharashtra) or partial closures.

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Marvel’s first Asian superhero film, Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang-Chi and The Legend of 10 Rings” raked in Rs 7.5 crore (net collection: Rs 6.3 crore) this past Friday and Saturday.

In comparison, the Akshay Kumar spy thriller “Bell Bottom” made Rs 5.5 crore in the first two days of its August 19 release, till Raksha Bandhan buoyed its extended (four-day) weekend collection figure to Rs 12.65 crore.

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The performance of “Shang-Chi” has brought joy to the film exhibition business, which has been hit by full (in Maharashtra) or partial closures. Maharashtra and Delhi-NCR traditionally account for 50 per cent of the revenues collected by the film industry. In Delhi-NCR, as a result of the social distancing rules in force, cinema theatres are operating at 50 per cent occupancy.

“Shang-Chi” opened to a roaring start with a collection of Rs 3.54 crore on Friday, promising happy days ahead for multiplex chains and surviving single screen owners.

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Commenting on what worked for the film, which was released in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, producer and film business analyst Girish Johar said in a conversation with IANS: “It has enabled cinema to come back to audiences. The word of mouth is so good that ‘Shang-Chi’ has done well not just in India but overseas as well. It is a out-and-out commercial film and that is exactly what people want to see on the big screen. Word of mouth and the big-screen experience has helped the film.”

The point to note, according to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, that unlike the “Fast and Furious” or “James Bond” kind of franchises, it is a new superhero film and has still got a great response.”

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Its content clearly is being lapped up by audiences. Does this mean “Shang-Chi” can surpass the collections of “Bell Bottom”?

Adarsh pointed out that “Bell Bottom” is only in Hindi, whereas “Shang-Chi” has been released in five languages, so it may not be right to compare the two.

“What the two films have done is bring the audience back to theatres,” Adarsh said. “Theatre-owners now are more confident that people will come if they give them good content.”

In the post-Covid world, content is back to being the queen.

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