Diwali + Idd = Box-office Boom

By Manisha Deshpande
10/16/2004 12:00:00 AM
The Diwali week this year is destined to herald the biggest ever boom at the box-office. The reason being the festive season of Idd and Diwali, both coinciding in the same week, an occurrence that is said to be happening after a span of almost 36 years. Not surprisingly, there is a palpable excitement in the exhibition sector with exhibitors falling over each other to book the prized four films releasing this Diwali, VEER ZAARA, AITRAAZ, NAACH and the legendary MUGHAL-E-AZAM in color.

?It is one of the biggest opportunities to reap dividends at the box-office, after the slack period that has prevailed in the post-DHOOM phase. Almost every exhibitor is looking forward to this period,? says Sanjay Dalia, General Manger, Programing, Cineline theatres.

Dalia has booked all the four films at the Cineline chain of multiplexes and is expecting an overwhelming response for them, particularly VEER ZAARA and AITRAAZ. To make the best of the demand for tickets, the Cineline management is considering the idea of opening the advance booking for two weeks. ?That?s because we don?t want the audiences to go back disappointed. The anticipation is such that even the matinee shows are likely to be houseful. While VEER ZAARA is a magnum opus coming from the Yash Chopra banner after a gap of almost eight years, AITRAAZ is a thriller backed by two venerable names, Subhash Ghai and Abbas Mustan,? he adds.

?I am expecting the week to break all records in terms of revenue collection at Fame Adlabs. The last record was on December 20, 2002, when KAANTE, SAATHIYAN and DIE ANOTHER DAY grossed a total of Rs 50 lakhs in one week at the multiplex. The possibilities are endless,? says Neeraj Goswami, Head of Programming, Shringar Cinemas.

Neeraj doesn?t rule out the possibility of an incredible hike in admission rates considering the likely rush for tickets. ?We are aware that there is likely to be a huge demand for tickets and people will be willing to pay for them too. So far we have hiked the admission rates to a maximum of Rs 180-Rs 200, during the release of DEVDAS, KAANTE and CHALTE CHALTE. We?ll find out what the limit is this time,? he laughs.

?It is definitely the prized week of the year what with Diwali and Idd falling in the same week after a gap of so many years. There?s already a mad scramble among exhibitors to book the four films but the demand is particularly high for VEER ZAARA and AITRAAZ,? says exhibitor Rajesh Thadani, who has booked all the four Diwali and Idd releases this year at his chain of theatres.

?Its not just boom time, its super boom at the box-office with just three weeks to go. We are waiting for the festivities to start,? quips another exhibitor who is looking forward to D-day in the second week of November.?