By Sreedhar Pillai
Is it festival time in south India? It looks like the rush hour has started at the box-office down south. Too many biggies from Kollywood, Tollywood and Hollywood are due in June 22 to July 13 release window.
The four Fridays (June 22 & 29 and July 6 & 13) is going to see a lot of blood-letting at the southern box-office. Theatre managers across south are tearing their hair in desperation as they try to shuffle their programming to put in as many shows of the biggies as possible.
Two major Tamil films with their Telugu dubbings Ajith’s Billa 2 and Karthi’s Saguni are locking horns worldwide during June 22 weekend. On June 29 the eagerly awaited Hollywood tent pole movie The Amazing Spider-Man is going to cast a web. It is releasing in India before its US release!
And on July 6 South’s top mass masala moviemaker SS Rajamouli is coming out with his fantasy action thriller bi-lingual Eega in Telugu and Naan Ee in Tamil. The trailer of the film created a sensation and there is a big buzz around it. Then Allu Arjun- Ileana Telugu biggie Julai is releasing most likely in the second week of July.
Asks Mukesh Mehta, distributor and trade analyst: “ So many biggies are coming together almost around the same time, theatres will call the shots. It is not a festival season and the clash is uncalled for if there was some planning. In some way or other it will eat into each other’s business.”
Sony Pictures The Amazing Spider-Man was supposed to be the tent pole movie of summer of 2012. A month back Sony Pictures seeing the success of Disney’s The Avengers in south market were reportedly asking for $ 2 million (Rs 11 Crore) for Tamil and Telugu version of the film.
Initially there were a lot of offers but the deal did not materialise as confirmed release dates of Billa 2, Saguni and Eega cast a web around The Amazing Spider-Man.
Today Sony is finding it difficult to get screens for the Spiderman, which is releasing in India on June 29, a week ahead of other major international markets.
Nandakumar of Priyadarsini complex in Palakkad says “Too many biggies around the same time are not good for business. As it is the earlier summer releases in Kerala, Mayamohini and Ordinary have become blockbusters and theatres will never stop a proven hit. Where are the screens for newer releases?”
The programming chief of a leading multiplex in Tamil Nadu said: “ I think it is the time to go for my annual holiday. Next few weeks programming is going togo haywire, as everybody wants bigger screens and more number of shows.” Forgetmultiplexes even single screens in small towns in Tamil Nadu are under tremendous pressure from producers and distributors of biggies for playing time in their theatres.
Leading theatre booking agent Marimuthu says: “It is a tight rope walk for all in the trade. Take for example a small town like Dindigul with limited screens.Billa 2 has booked most of them leaving some to Saguni. A week later there is no proper screen for The Amazing Spider-Man, and in July first week Naan Ee comes,by which time the earlier releases have to vacate. There is total chaos at the moment regarding release dates.”
Trade also feels that everybody is in a mad rush to release their films before “Aadi Masam “ and “Ramzan Noyambu” period starts from the third week of July for a month. The next big date is August 15 and already KV Anand has announced his Suriya actioner Maatran while AR Murgadoss has also thrown in his hat with his Vijay police story Thupakki. Well, that’s a different story altogether!