Mumbai, Aug 14, 2023 (IANS): When four much-awaited films — ‘Gadar-2’, ‘OMG-2’, ‘Jailer’ and ‘Bhola Shankar’ — released simultaneously, there was huge scepticism in industry circles, but on Monday, that has been proved unfounded.
The Producers Guild of India (PGI) and Multiplex Association of India (MAI) proudly announced here that the weekend August 11-13 was the busiest single weekend opening in the 110-year-old history of Indian cinema.
The combined collections for the weekend grossed Rs 390-crore plus, and industry sources said by August 14 evening it could surpass a whopping Rs 400-crore, thrilling the PGI, MAI and other stakeholders.
The last weekend notched an unprecedented 2.10 crore-plus people flocking to theatres and multiplexes around the country to view one or more of the four films that hit the silver screens on a single day, puncturing dark forecasts of cynics.
This was also the highest combined-footfalls record notched in the last decade, and industry bigwigs say this has come as “a big morale-booster after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns” and other speed-breakers.
“It was a historic weekend… It proves once again that India loves going to the movies to see great films… It shows that movies and cinemas are back in a big, big way,” gushed MAI President Kamal Gianchandani.
“Mainstream story-telling executed in the right way has resulted in the box office records being shattered. Such a massive achievement is the result of an incredible film-making team, with the cast and crew coming together to create a truly special movie-going experience,” said a pleased PGI President Shibashish Sarkar.
A MAI official, preferring anonymity, said that besides the box-office tickets being grabbed, the food and beverages section also recorded sales of over Rs 250-crore during the weekend.
“The cash registers were jingling all the way, from the bookings to the F&B to the parking and others… Something that is truly unprecedented,” said the official, who owns a multiplex in a Mumbai mall.
The cascading effect went down to the malls with people spending time – and money – in shopping, meals or bites before and after the day shows, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement.
The situation was similar even in multiplexes where one or more of the four big releases were being screened, giving a reason for all to smile broadly, and some patrons even making mental bookings for the next day’s show of the film they had not yet watched.
“After almost four years, I went with my family for ‘OMG-2’ as ‘Gadar-2’ was houseful in our multiplex in Thane on Saturday evening. Later, we have booked for ‘Gadar-2’ for the next weekend and are eagerly looking forward to it,” said a shipper, Suresh Bhaskaran, currently on a vacation in Thane.
Sarkar added that the turnout at cinemas has infused a new energy in the film industry with audience numbers ‘unseen’ for a very long time and even the early morning shows getting sold out.
Gianchandani noted that the record audiences prove how cinemas are the ultimate venue to be part of a shared experience and thanked the studios and film-makers for “pushing the boundaries to deliver unforgettable story-telling”, making it a wonderful experience for people who adore mainstream Indian films.
The foursome of ‘Gadar-2’, ‘OMG-2’, ‘Jailer’ and ‘Bhola Shankar’ have virtually set afire the cinemas which have reported tremendous public response that is translating into big money for all the stakeholders – and they pray that the trend continues for the rest of 2023 and upcoming 2024.