Theatres get ready for an action-packed holiday weekend


New Delhi: Cinema owners are gearing up to capitalize on the recent theatrical resurgence during the upcoming extended weekend, which coincides with the Independence Day celebrations.

Theatres across north India, especially single screens, have witnessed significant advance bookings for Gadar 2, a sequel to the 2001 hit. Down south, preparations are under way for Rajinikanth’s latest film Jailer.

Some theatre owners in the North said viewers’ interest in Gadar 2 has been massive, and its patriotic theme has generated a buzz that’s on a par with Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan. All the shows for opening day have been sold out, they said.

The Sunny Deol-starrer film will be competing with Akshay Kumar’s OMG 2 which has had some issues with the censor board. “The idea is about offering something for everyone. It is a trend we observed with the success of Oppenheimer, Barbie and Mission: Impossible. If the content is good, audiences will have more of it,” said Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, executive director, PVR Inox Ltd.

According to Bijli, around 20 films across languages have been screening concurrently across theatres, with a minimal impact on the box office performance of one over another.

Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas, BookMyShow said so far Jailer has seen around 900,000 bookings on the platform, leading with the original Tamil version in south India including Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The film is also releasing in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.

“Gadar 2 witnessed close to 300,000 ticket sales on BookMyShow with fans from Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Jaipur, Patna, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Surat leading. The interest stems from a revival of the star cast in this sequel, rekindling memories of the original film, released over two decades ago. We are especially enthusiastic about the impressive advance bookings of Gadar 2 in single-screen theatres in small towns. It is a remarkable response and the film is set to see its market reach rise significantly beyond the top cities,” Saksena added.

Further, Chiranjeevi-starrer Bhola Shankar, and OMG 2 sold 70,000 and 45,000 tickets, respectively, on BookMyShow.

“Usually, Independence Day weeks contribute 25-30% of overall share of business for movies in this month. We have always witnessed a rise in footfall, with families and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday outdoors, and watching films on the big screen,” said Saksena.

To be sure, though, theatre owners, especially small-town businesses said advance bookings for Gadar 2 shot through the roof, and may be one of the most impressive opening day success stories in recent days with collections of 25 crore- 30 crore expected.

“About 98% of our shows for the opening day are sold out and the buzz should spill over to the weekend,” said Pranav Garg, the managing director of two-screen cinema, Maya Palace, in Muzaffarnagar.

Producers Zee Studios opened advances for the Sunny Deol-starrer 10 days before the release and theatre owners said unlike the trend of walk-in purchase of tickets, people are planning in advance given the nostalgia around the film. OMG 2, however, may have fewer shows, catering primarily to urban, multiplex audiences.

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